The raw images from Cassini’s eighth flyby of Enceladus are in! And they don’t disappoint…the highlight of the set so far, in my opinion, is the image above showing the moon’s signature ice geysers erupting from fracture lines called “tiger stripes” surrounding the south pole. Highlighted by sunlight, the plumes follow the lines of the fractures across the terminator of Enceladus’ night side, their individual sources easily visible. Amazing!!! (Image was rotated 180º from its original, and some digital interlacing was removed via Photoshop.)
Below are more images, some taken closer to the surface showing the moon’s incredibly rugged and tortured icy terrain. Cassini came within just under 1000 miles of the surface of Enceladus in this latest flyby.
UPDATE: the below image (rotated 180º) was just received…note the moon’s shadow being cast across the geyser plumes to the right. It just keeps getting better!!! Fan-tastic. 🙂
Images: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute