Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 1, 2012

Enceladian Night
Enceladian Night

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

Below an almost completely darkened Enceladus, huge Plumes of Water Ice, coming from at least 4 (four) different Sulci (---> cracks of the Surface) located its South Polar Regions, are backlit in this view of one of Saturn's most dramatic moons. The lit Terrain seen here is on the Leading Hemisphere of Enceladus (whose diameter is approx. 313 miles - such as about 504 Km). North is up.

The picture was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera, on February 20, 2012. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 83.000 miles (such as approx. 134.000 Kilometers) from Enceladus, and at a Sun-Enceladus-CASSINI Spacecraft (also known as "Phase"), Angle of 165°. Image scale is 2628 feet (801 meters) per pixel.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14599) has been additionally processed and then colorized, according to an informed speculation carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXXT/IPF), 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.

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