CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Enceladus Before the Rings

Cassini looks toward the south pole of Enceladus with a glimpse of Saturn's rings in the distance during the spacecraft's close flyby Nov. 2, 2009.

See PIA08386 to learn more about the active south pole of Enceladus. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across). The rings have been brightened relative to Enceladus to increase visibility.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 2, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 10,400 kilometers (6,500 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 6 degrees. Image scale is 630 meters (2,100 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 31, 2009 (PIA 12517)
Image/Caption Information
  Enceladus Before the Rings
PIA 12517

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Dec 31, 2009 at 9:57 AM):
Breathtaking. Happy new 2010 to CICLOPS and all Sector 6 members!