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Picture of the Day - Enceladus and G Ring

Published by Matt on Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:09 pm via: NASA
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As Enceladus spews water ice from its south polar region, Cassini also shows Saturn’s faint G ring before the moon.

Enceladus and Saturn's G Ring. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Enceladus and Saturn's G Ring. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The E ring is too diffuse to be seen here, but the G ring can just barely be seen in this image. The G ring is actually closer to Cassini here even though the ring appears to be behind Enceladus. The most brightly lit terrain seen on the moon here (on the left of the moon) is illuminated by the sun and is on the leading hemisphere of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across). Light reflected off Saturn covers a larger area on the Saturn-facing side of the moon on the right.

North on Enceladus is up. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 26, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 993,000 kilometers (617,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 162 degrees. Image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. 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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

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