Advertisements

Cassini Has Made Its Last Pass by Enceladus. Here Are the Pictures.

The limb of Enceladus imaged by Cassini from a distance of 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

The limb of Enceladus imaged by Cassini from a distance of 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

After nearly eleven and a half years in orbit around Saturn the Cassini spacecraft has made its last-ever targeted flyby of Enceladus, the 320-mile-wide moon of Saturn that has intrigued scientists and the public alike with its active water ice geysers for more than a decade since their discovery. On Saturday Dec. 19, 2015, Cassini performed its E-22 flyby of Enceladus, coming within 3,106 miles (5,000 km) of the moon’s fractured and frozen surface as it sped by at over 21,000 mph. It captured some incredible images along the way, including the one above showing a crescent-lit Enceladus from its night side silhouetted against the hazy upper atmosphere of Saturn, 150,000 miles beyond.

Take a look through some more raw images from the E-22 flyby below.

Frozen fractures: deep furrows in Enceladus' south polar region known as Samarkand Sulci (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Frozen fractures: deep furrows in Enceladus’ south polar region known as Samarkand Sulci. Image scale is 74m/pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Narrow-angle camera image of Enceladus' limb, captured on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Narrow-angle camera image of Enceladus’ limb, captured on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Enceladus' icy jets, seen here in backlit lighting on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Enceladus’ icy jets, seen here in backlit lighting on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Another look at Enceladus' surface from 3,100 miles (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Another look at Enceladus’ surface from 3,100 miles (NASA/JPL/SSI)

A full-globe image of Enceladus captured by Cassini on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI. Edited by J. Major.)

A full-globe image of Enceladus captured by Cassini on Dec. 19, 2015. (NASA/JPL/SSI. Edited by J. Major.)

Here’s an animation showing exactly what occurred during the E-22 flyby:

You can check out a virtual tour of Enceladus here, and below is an infographic reviewing some of the most important findings Cassini has made about Enceladus. Click to view full size.

The amazing eight: Eight scientific discoveries about Enceladus (NASA/JPL)

The amazing eight: Eight scientific discoveries about Enceladus (NASA/JPL)

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 December 21, 2015, in Moons, Saturn's Moons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Cool pics! Space rocks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for all the great information, as well as the stunning pictures – I was actually in my first Astronomy class when Cassini launched (appropriately, that astro course focused on our Solar System). It was a big deal then, and I’m happy to see that it has provided so much information and further tantalization. With luck, Cassini’s mission will inspire further exploration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cassini is an amazing mission, it will be a long time before we see another like it. Having a spacecraft operating for so long at a planet is really unprecedented.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are absolutely right: Cassini was unprecedented. But now we know it can be done, Cassini is now the precedent, and we can use Cassini as a blueprint for making it happen again in the future 🙂 With luck, it won’t be so long before something else like this is planned, allowing us to use Cassini not only as precedent and blueprint, but as a boost to momentum, as well 🙂

        Like

  1. Pingback: Cassini Has Made Its Last Pass by Enceladus. Here Are the Pictures. | oshriradhekrishnabole

Have an opinion about this? Leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: