Enceladus plumes and Dione
29 March 2012
The international Cassini spacecraft was on its way to its lowest pass yet over the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus when it took this image of the impressive plumes.
The plumes are jets of water ice and vapour, mixed with organic compounds. With this flyby coming within a mere 74 km, scientists hope to learn more about the composition, density and variability of these remarkable features of Enceladus.
A day after the flyby, Cassini imaged Dione, another of Saturn’s moons. From a distance of 44 000 km, features like impact craters are clearly visible on the side of the moon that faces away from the Sun.