Ring shadows line the face of distant Saturn, providing an exquisite backdrop for the brilliant, white sphere of Enceladus. This icy moon, with its heavily modified surface and towering plume of icy material, is a target of intense study for Cassini during its Equinox mission.
This image was taken simultaneously with Gathering of Moons and looks toward the leading side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across). North is up.
The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 28, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 291,000 kilometers (181,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 15 degrees. Image scale is 2
kilometers (1 mile) 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute