Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 March 22
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Enceladus Near Saturn
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Some images of Saturn appear surreal. Earlier this year, the robot spacecraft Cassini now orbiting Saturn took this surreal image of the gas giant Saturn, its majestic rings, and its enigmatic world Enceladus all in one frame. Enceladus, recently found to emit jets of ice from possible underground seas, appears white as its surface is covered with relatively clean water-ice. Below Enceladus are the rings of Saturn, seen nearly edge on. Compared to Enceladus, Saturn's rings show their comparatively high density of dirt with their golden-brown color in this natural color image. The planet Saturn, in the background, appears relatively featureless with the exception of thin ring shadows visible on the upper left. The terminator between night and day is seen vertically across the face of this distant world.

Tomorrow's picture: first trillionth

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: EUD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.