Advertisements

Pics Are In from Cassini’s Flyby Through Enceladus’ Plumes!

The southern hemisphere of Enceladus imaged by Cassini upon approach on Oct. 28, 2015.

The southern hemisphere of Enceladus imaged by Cassini upon approach on Oct. 28, 2015.

On Wed. Oct. 28 Cassini performed its lowest-altitude dive yet through the icy plumes of Enceladus, coming just 30 miles from the moon’s surface — that’s only about 6 times higher than a commercial airliner at cruising altitude. But, traveling over 19,000 mph relative to Enceladus (which is 38 times faster than a jet plane!) the pass was over in just a few seconds. Still, Cassini managed to capture some images before, during, and after closest approach — and they’ve arrived on Earth today.

Here are some of the raw images from the E-21 flyby. These have not been validated or made into official releases by NASA or the Cassini imaging team yet, but they are a nice teaser of what we might expect once they are. (And, of course, the science performed during the flyby has yet to be revealed.) So pics only for now!

Full-globe image of Enceladus captured by Cassini before the flyby on Oct. 28, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Edited by J. Major.)

Full-globe image of Enceladus captured by Cassini before the flyby on Oct. 28, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Edited by J. Major.) HI RES VERSION BELOW

The clearest view thus far of Enceladus' surface from E-21, captured during closest approach. (Raw image has been upscaled and rotated.)

The clearest view thus far of Enceladus’ surface from E-21, captured during closest approach. (Raw image has been upscaled and rotated.)

Narrow-angle image of Enceladus' backlit plumes shooting from its south pole. Saturn's nightside limb is in the background.

Narrow-angle image of Enceladus’ backlit plumes shooting from its south pole. Part of Saturn’s hazy E-ring is in the background. (Cleaned and rotated raw image. NASA’JPL-Caltech/SSI. Edit by J. Major.)

Enceladus seen before the flyby in front of Saturn's rings.

Enceladus seen before the flyby in front of Saturn’s rings.

And here’s a hi-res mosaic of Enceladus’ sunlit side made from four separate narrow-angle camera raw images:

Hi-res mosaic of Enceladus, Oct. 28, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Edit by J. Major.)

Hi-res mosaic of Enceladus, Oct. 28, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Edit by J. Major.)

I’m looking forward to hearing what was discovered about Enceladus from this incredibly close flyby. But at the very least, science takes time.

After 11 years in orbit around Saturn Cassini is still impressing us with incredible images!

As always you can find the latest raw images from Cassini on the JPL mission site here and at the CICLOPS page here, and watch an animation below of what occurred during the E-21 pass.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Advertisements

About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on October 30, 2015, in Saturn, Saturn's Moons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think it’s great – the pictures and subsequent findings will hopefully fuel the urge to send a mission to this big, potentially life-hosting, snowball 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Pics Are In from Cassini’s Flyby Through Enceladus’ Plumes! | Art of Being

  2. Pingback: Pics Are In from Cassini’s Flyby Through Enceladus’ Plumes! | oshriradhekrishnabole

  3. Pingback: Pics Are In from Cassini’s Flyby Through Enceladus’ Plumes! | mariaromerojmv

%d bloggers like this: