Join Donate

The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Enceladus among stars

Enceladus among stars

Click to view full image

NASA / JPL / SSI

Enceladus among stars
Extremely unusual circumstances were required to get this shot of Enceladus floating in front of a field of stars. The Cassini spacecraft is flying in space, of course, and regularly captures images of star fields. It also regularly captures images of Enceladus. But Enceladus is so brightly reflective that, under normal circumstances, it is impossible to see both features on Enceladus' surface and a dense field of stars in the same image. To see Enceladus' surface, the camera team would select a short exposure setting; to see the stars, they would select a long exposure setting. This photo is possible because Enceladus was actually in Saturn's shadow when it was taken; the only light reaching its surface (and reflecting from there to Cassini's camera) is sunlight that has first been reflected off of Saturn or its rings. A long exposure revealed both Enceladus' surface and the background field of stars.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about October 9, 2008

Explore related images: Enceladus, pretty pictures, Cassini, astronomy by planetary missions

You are here:
Comments & Sharing
More Images
astronaut on Phobos
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Bruce Murray and Carl Sagan
Pretty Pictures

Support the Bruce Murray Space Image Library and help us share the wonders of other worlds.

Donate