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Jet Spots in Tiger Stripes
Jet Spots in Tiger Stripes (click to enlarge)

Jet Spots in Tiger Stripes
Date: 12 Mar 2008

In this thermal image of the "tiger stripes" on Saturn's moon Enceladus we see heat emanating out of the icy moon. Heat is radiating from the entire length of 150 km (95 mile)-long fractures. The warmest parts of the fractures tend to lie on locations of the plume jets identified in earlier images.

Remarkably high temperatures, at least 180 Kelvin (minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit) were registered along the brightest fracture, named Damascus Sulcus, in the lower left portion of the image. For comparison, surface temperatures elsewhere in the south polar region of Enceladus are below 72 Kelvin (minus 330 degrees Fahrenheit).

This map was made by scanning the south pole during the period from 16 to 37 minutes after closest approach to Enceladus, at a distance between 14,000 and 32,000 km (about 8,700 and 20,000 miles) as Cassini rapidly receded from its close (50-km or 32-mile) flyby.

What Scientists/Engineers Say About This Image:

"The fact that Enceladus is active and so hot is an amazing advance in the study of planetary satellites. It really forces us to stretch our thinking about how these objects work. Also, the fact that oceans are now thought to be commonplace in large icy satellites and may exist in even small ones like Enceladus is just amazing."

--Robert Pappalardo: Senior Research Scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Last Update: 29 Feb 2012 (AMB)

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 29 Feb 2012