CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Elephant Skin Enceladus

Two sources of light reveal the dramatic surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus in this Cassini image in which geologic features give the appearance of the leathery skin of an elephant.

Geologically young terrain in the southern and middle latitudes gives way to older, cratered terrain in the northern latitudes of the moon. See PIA11685 to learn more.

Sunlight illuminates the right of the image, and light reflected off Saturn dimly illuminates the left. This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across). North on Enceladus is up.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 7, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 198,000 kilometers (123,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 92 degrees. Image scale is 1 kilometer (3,884 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: September 13, 2010 (PIA 12719)
Image/Caption Information
  Elephant Skin Enceladus
PIA 12719

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Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Sep 14, 2010 at 0:27 AM):
A lot of features visible left to the middle.