Saturn’s Moon Plays Hide-and-Seek With Cassini

Enceladus and Epimetheus as seen by Cassini on October 1, 2011.


Taken during the Cassini spacecraft’s October 1 flyby of Saturn’s ice-spewing moon, this image – released today – shows a crescent-lit Enceladus with southern geysers in action… and the much smaller Epimetheus peeking out from behind!


The 70-mile (113-km) -wide Epimetheus is dwarfed by its larger sibling Enceladus, which is 313 miles (504 km) in diameter… about the width of the state of Arizona.

One of the most reflective objects in the solar system, Enceladus appears to be casting some reflected light onto Epimetheus as well. (Image processors at the Cassini Imaging Lab have brightened the moons by a factor of 1.8 relative to the rings in order to bring out detail.)

Some bright clumps of material can also be seen orbiting within Saturn’s rings at upper left, possibly stirred up by the movement of the shepherd moon Pan.

See this and more images at the CICLOPS site here.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute.