A crescent Enceladus appears with Saturn's rings in this Cassini spacecraft view of the moon.
The famed jets of water ice emanating from the south polar region of the moon are faintly visible here. They appear as a small white blur below the dark south pole, down and to the right of the illuminated part of the moon's surface in the image. The image's contrast was enhanced to increase the visibility of the jets. See Bursting at the Seams to learn more about the jets.
Lit terrain seen here is on the trailing hemisphere of Enceladus (313 miles, 504 kilometers across). North on Enceladus is up.
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 Jan. 4, 2012. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 181,000 miles (291,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 136 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute