Dione and Enceladus

Dione_EnceladusAlthough Saturn’s moons Dione (in the foreground) and Enceladus are made of more or less the same stuff, Enceladus has a considerably higher reflectivity than Dione. Therefore, it appears brighter against the blackness of space.

Enceladus has a constant rain of ice grains from its south polar jets which cover its surface with a bright snow. Dione’s older, weathered surface has slowly gathered dust and radiation damage, darkening through a process known as “space weathering.”

Image Credit: NASA

Enceladus Close Up

Enceladus close upDuring its close flyby last Wednesday of the active south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the Cassini spacecraft grabbed this view of the terrain below. It’s centered on terrain at 57° S latitude by 324° W longitude. The spacecraft was about 124 km from Enceladus. The image resolution is 15 m per pixel.

Image Credit: NASA

Enceladus Up Close

Enceladus North PoleThe Cassini spacecraft flew by Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus a couple of days ago, and snapped this picture of the moon’s north pole. Based on low-resolution images from the Voyager mission, we expected the north polar region of Enceladus to be heavily cratered. This high-resolution image shows a landscape of stark contrasts with thin cracks crossing over the pole. The moon’s surface is full of cracks, but until this flyby, we didn’t know if the fractures extended so far north.


Image Credit: NASA