Below a darkened Enceladus, a plume of water ice is backlit in this view of one of Saturn's most dramatic moons.
See PIA11688 and PIA08386 to learn more about the jets of water ice emanating from the south polar region of Enceladus. Lit terrain seen here is on the leading hemisphere of Enceladus (313 miles, or 504 kilometers across). North is up.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 20, 2012. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 83,000 miles (134,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 165 degrees. Image scale is 2,628 feet (801 meters) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.