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Cassini spots tilted terminator of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

The image shows the wrinkled plains of the moon that are remarkably youthful in appearance, being generally free of large impact craters.


Cassini spots tilted terminator of Saturn’s moon Enceladus
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Washington: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured a stunning view of Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn.

The image, acquired at a distance of approximately 49,000 miles from Enceladus, shows the wrinkled plains of the moon that are remarkably youthful in appearance, being generally free of large impact craters.

When viewed with north pointing up, as in this image, the day-night boundary line (or terminator) cuts diagonally across Enceladus, with Saturn approaching its northern summer solstice, explained NASA in a blog post.

The lit portion on all of Saturn’s large, icy moons, including Enceladus (504 kilometres or 313 miles across) and Saturn itself, is now centered on their northern hemispheres.

This change of season, coupled with a new spacecraft trajectory, has progressively revealed new terrains compared to when Cassini arrived in 2004, when the southern hemisphere was more illuminated, added NASA.

The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on January 14, 2016.

Cassini has been studying the ringed planet and its many natural satellites since arriving there in 2004.

The robotic spacecraft is gearing up for a daring set of orbits called the Grand Finale, which will take place in late 2016 and will be in some ways like a whole new mission.

(Source: NASA)

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