Images from the European Space Agencys Huygens probe descent imager/spectral radiometer side-looking imager and from the medium resolution imager, acquired after landing, were merged to produce this image.
Recent Cassini images of Saturns moon Enceladus backlit by the sun show the fountain-like sources of the fine spray of material that towers over the south polar region. The image was taken looking more or less broadside at the "tiger stripe" fractures observed in earlier Enceladus images. It shows discrete plumes of a variety of apparent sizes above the limb of the moon.
Jets of fine, icy particles streaming from Saturn’s moon Enceladus were captured in recent images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The images provide unambiguous visual evidence the moon is geologically active.
"For planetary explorers like us, there is little that can compare to the sighting of activity on another solar system body," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "This has been a heart-stopper, and surely one of our most thrilling results."
The Cassini images clearly show multiple jets emanating from the moon’s south polar region. Based on earlier data, scientists strongly suspected these jets arise from warm fractures in the region. The fractures, informally dubbed "tiger stripes," are viewed essentially broadside in the new images.
Erica Hupp | EurekAlert!
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