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Monday, September 4, 2017

Cassini visits Enceladus

Enceladus
New pictures from Cassini. Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 310 miles in diameter, which makes it about one tenth the diameter of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. (Wikipedia)

The image was recorded using the Cassini's narrow-angle camera on Aug. 1, 2017 using filters that allow infrared, green, and ultraviolet light.

  • The image filter centered on 930 nm (IR) was is red in this image, 
  • the image filter centered on the green is green, and 
  • the image filter centered on 338 nm (UV) is blue.

This image was obtained at a distance of approximately 112,000 miles from Enceladus. Image scale is about 0.6 mile per pixel. (Ciclops)

Earth's moon is about 250,000 miles away, so we (that's the royal 'we') were about half that distance from Enceladus. That moon is like two-thirds the diameter of Titan, or one sixth the diameter of Earth's moon. Put that all together and looking at Enceladus from Cassini, it will to be about one-third the size of the Earth's moon as seen from the Earth.

2 comments:

Ole Phat Stu said...

Few Craters! Explain please.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Hmmm. I can think of a dozen explanations. Bigger planets attract more rocks? Enceladus has a powerful force field that repels wayward rocks? The surface is made of frozen methane that melts whenever it is struck and then refreezes into a new, smooth surface. Volcanoes! Photoshop. The whole mission is being filmed in a secret sound-stage in Area 51, and when it came time to model Enceladus, the modelers got lazy and decided they didn't need to model all those craters. You pick the one you like the best.