Cassini samples the icy spray of Enceladus' water plumes
As it swooped past the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus on 14 July 2005, Cassini acquired high resolution views of this puzzling ice world. From afar, Enceladus exhibits a bizarre mixture of softened craters and complex, fractured terrains. This large mosaic of 21 narrow-angle camera images have been arranged to provide a full-disc view of the anti-Saturn hemisphere on Enceladus. This mosaic is a false-colour view that includes images taken at wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the infrared portion of the spectrum, and is similar to another, lower resolution false-colour view obtained during the flyby. In false-colour, many long fractures on Enceladus exhibit a pronounced difference in colour (represented here in blue) from the surrounding terrain.
A leading explanation for the difference in colour is that the walls of the fractures expose outcrops of coarse-grained ice that are free of the powdery surface materials that cover flat-lying surfaces.
The original images in the false-colour mosaic range in resolution from 350 to 67 metres per pixel and were taken at distances ranging from 61 300 to 11 100 kilometres from Enceladus. The mosaic is also part of a movie sequence of images from this flyby.