Enceladus, Afterburners Still Firing

Article written: 24 Sep , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

We can never get enough of seeing those intriguing jets and plumes from Saturn’s moon Enceladus, especially this great view from the Cassini spacecraft where the plumes are back-it from the Sun while the moon’s surface is lit with reflected light from Saturn. And as you can see, those jets are still firing. There are close to 100 geyser jets of varying sizes near Enceladus’s south pole spraying water vapor, icy particles, and organic compounds out into space. If you look closely, you’ll see the entire plume is as large as the moon itself.

Can we please send another spacecraft just to study this fascinating moon?

The image was taken in blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 2, 2013, when Cassini was about 517,000 miles (832,000 kilometers) from Enceladus.

See more details at the Cassini website.

Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.


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