Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bad Moon Rising

"Saturn's tiny, icy moon Enceladus has recently been visited by NASA's Cassini orbiter on several very close approaches - once coming within a mere 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the surface. Scientists are learning a great deal about this curious little moon. Only about 500 kilometers wide (310 miles), it is very active, emitting internal heat, churning its surface, and - through cryovolcanism - ejecting masses of microscopic ice particles into Saturnian orbit."

"Enceladus seen lit by both the Sun and reflected sunlight from Saturn and its rings on March 22, 2006, from a distance of 1,303,447 kilometers. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)"

"Ring shadows line the face of distant Saturn, providing a backdrop for the brilliant, white sphere of Enceladus. This image looks toward the leading side of Enceladus. North is up. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 28, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 291,000 kilometers (181,000 miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 2 kilometers (1 mile) per pixel. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)"

"The tortured surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus and its fascinating ongoing geologic activity tell the story of the ancient and present struggles of one tiny world. The enhanced color view of Enceladus seen here is largely of the southern hemisphere. The south polar terrain is marked by a striking set of "blue" fractures and encircled by a conspicuous and continuous chain of folds and ridges. This mosaic was created from 21 false-color frames taken during the Cassini spacecraft's close approaches to Enceladus on March 9 and July 14, 2005. Images taken using filters sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light were combined to create the individual frames. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)"

More of these awesome pictures can be found here -

No comments: