Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 22, 2015

Northern Territories of Enceladus
Northern Territories of Enceladus

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

The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft peered out over the Northern Territories located on the Saturnian icy-moon Enceladus, capturing this view of two very different Terrain types. In particular, we can see here a Region of older Terrain, covered by several Unnamed Impact Craters that have been modified - most likely - by Geological Processes (please look at the right - Dx - of the frame); on the other hand (look at the left - Sx - side of the picture) there is a "Province" (---> small Region) which is - relatively - craterless and - presumably - made by younger and wrinkled Terrain.


The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft acquired the view during its final close Fly-By of Enceladus, that occurred on December, 19, 2015; North on Enceladus is up and rotated 38° to the left (Sx).


The Original Image was taken in Polarized Green Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Narrow-Angle Camera. Furthermore, the view was acquired at a distance of approximately 21.000 miles (such as about 33.796,14 Km) from Enceladus, and at a Sun-Enceladus-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 145°. The Image scale is roughly 668 feet (such as about 203,6064 meters) per pixel (or "Picture Element").


This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17211) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Saturnian moon "Enceladus"), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Enceladus, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.


Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of the Northern Regions of Enceladus - as seen in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.



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