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Emily LakdawallaNovember 22, 2009

Two more awesome pictures from the Enceladus flyby

I'm getting to be a broken record here, but I can't stop looking at these photos from the Enceladus flyby. This first one I put together from two of the south polar plume images -- you can see all four of the tiger stripes, and the plumes issuing from them, in this wide shot. I mosaicked two images, matching their levels, rotated them 180 degrees to put "ground" at the bottom and "sky" at the top, and filled in a little of the background in the corner at lower right to fill out the whole image.

Enceladan south polar vents and plumes

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / mosaic by Emily Lakdawalla

Enceladan south polar vents and plumes
This mosaic consists of two frames on Enceladus' south pole, captured by Cassini during its close flyby on November 21, 2009. Plumes issue from all four of the large "tiger stripes" at Enceladus' south pole—from left to right, they trace out Alexandria, Cairo, Baghdad, and, at the extreme right edge, Damascus sulci. Only a tiny sliver of Enceladus is sunlit; the plumes are visible on the nightside of Enceladus where they have reached high enough elevations to rise out of nightside shadow and receive sunlight. A concentric circular feature lies between Alexandria and Cairo sulci. It may be a chance alignment of fractures, or it may represent some geologic feature, either exogenic (an impact scar) or endogenic (a plume or sink of some sort). Further research is necessary!

This other one was put together by Gordan Ugarkovic -- Cassini flies into the plumes! Cooooool. Wish I could have been riding along. That would be one spectacular view.

Approaching the plumes

NASA / JPL / SSI / animation by Gordan Ugarkovic

Approaching the plumes
This four-frame animation is composed of images captured by Cassini as it approached for its close flyby of Enceladus on November 21, 2009. The brightest plumes in this animation are along Damascus sulcus. Plumes along Baghdad sulcus are also visible at the beginning of the animation.

Read more: Enceladus, pretty pictures, Cassini, amateur image processing, Saturn's moons

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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