Saturn's moon Enceladus reflects sunlight brightly while the planet and its rings fill the background of this Cassini view.
Enceladus is one of the most reflective bodies in the solar system because it is constantly coated by fresh, white ice particles. See Occulting Enceladus and Icy Enceladus to learn more.
This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across). North on Enceladus is up and rotated 21 degrees to the left.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 21, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 102,000 kilometers (63,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 16 degrees. Image scale is 612 meters (2,008 feet) 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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute