News | December 20, 2010
Enceladus Flyby - Dec. 21, 2010
Enceladus 'E-13' Flyby: Focus on the North
The Cassini spacecraft made a 48-kilometer pass over the northern hemisphere of Enceladus. The fields and particles instruments were trying to "sniff" anything coming from the moon.
This Enceladus flyby started with optical remote sensing (ORS) observations of the plumes at the south pole. The composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) performed a night-side temperature map. The visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) followed this with an observation of the star alpha Ori as Saturn passed in front of it. The imaging science subsystem (ISS) then continued to observe the plume with the other ORS instruments riding along.
The ion and neutral mass spectrometer (INMS) took over as Cassini passed over the moon's northern hemisphere with an altitude of about 48 kilometers (30 miles) at 60 degrees North latitude at closest approach. The other Fields, Particles and Waves instruments rode along with INMS to observe the particles and dust environment around Enceladus, away from the south polar plume. ISS observed the Enceladus surface morphology after closest approach, followed by VIMS observations of Enceladus's surface composition, with the other ORS instruments riding along on both.