Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 30, 2015

Cosmic Snowball
Cosmic Snowball

Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

The Saturnian moon Enceladus - that we already know quite well... - is, in a way, a Celestial Body that is - physically - divided in two.


As a matter of fact, if you look to the North, the Terrain is covered by many (and, mostly, Unnamed) Impact Craters (not well visible here, since the frame is obviously overexposed - note: remember that the Albedo - or Surface Reflectivity - of Enceladus is one of the highest of the whole Solar System!), much like other Icy moons of Saturn. However, and instead, if you look towards the South of Enceladus, you will be able to notice that the record of Surface Cratering is much more sparse (---> rare) and, watch carefully, the Land is covered by Surface Fractures, as well as ropy - or even hummocky - Terrain characterized by Long and semi-Linear Surface Features (---> deep Fractures). The Lit Terrain seen here is located on the Trailing Side of Enceladus; North is up. The image was taken in Visible Green Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Narrow-Angle Camera on July, 27, 2015.


Today's view was obtained at a distance of approximately 70.000 miles (such as about 112.653,8 Km) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 25°; the image scale, on the other hand, is roughly 0,4 miles (such as approx. 0,6437 Km) per pixel.


This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's b/w and NON-Map Projected picture) has been colorized in Absolute Natural Colors by (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked towards the Saturnian moon Enceladus), according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an Informed Speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF, by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically emproved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.



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