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.
2023 December 16
Explanation: Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of tantalizing inner moon Enceladus poses in this Cassini spacecraft image. North is up in the dramatic scene captured during November 2016 as Cassini's camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction about 130,000 kilometers from the moon's bright crescent. In fact, the distant world reflects over 90 percent of the sunlight it receives, giving its surface about the same reflectivity as fresh snow. A mere 500 kilometers in diameter, Enceladus is a surprisingly active moon. Data and images collected during Cassini's flybys have revealed water vapor and ice grains spewing from south polar geysers and evidence of an ocean of liquid water hidden beneath the moon's icy crust.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.