Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 1, 2013

Crescent Enceladus
Crescent Enceladus

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

Evoking, in a way, the haunting beauty of the Earth's Moon, a crescent Enceladus appeared in front of the Electronic Eyes of Cassini while the Spacecraft was orbiting the Skies around Saturn, showing just a slice of illuminated Terrain - which is located on its Saturn-facing Hemisphere. North is up and rotated 25° to the right (Dx).


The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on May 1, 2013. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 329.000 miles (such as a little less than 530.000 Km) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 138°. The Image scale is roughly 2 miles (such as 3,21 Km) per pixel.


This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17121) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid visibility of the Surface details and then colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF, in what they should be its 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 others, the existence of different Elements 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 Enceladus- as it is 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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