Enceladus Before the Rings

Enceladus and Saturn's rings
December 31, 2009
PIA NumberPIA12517
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The Cassini spacecraft looks toward the south pole of Enceladus, with a glimpse of Saturn's rings in the distance, during the spacecraft's close flyby Nov. 2, 2009.

See Jet Blue to learn more about the active south pole of Enceladus. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across). The rings have been brightened relative to Enceladus to increase visibility.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 2, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 10,400 kilometers (6,500 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 6 degrees. Image scale is 630 meters (2,100 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute