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An enhanced close-up view shows at least two distinct jets spraying a mist of fine particles from the south polar region of Enceladus. The particles in the plume scatter sunlight most effectively at high Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft angles, or phase angles, making the plumes appear bright.
This image shows the night side of Saturn and the active moon against dark sky. Enceladus is 505 kilometers (314 miles) across.
Some artifacts due to image compression and cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector remain as noise in the image.
The image was acquired in polarized green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 4, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Enceladus and 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn. The image was taken at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 159 degrees. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute