Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 7, 2015

The Southern 'Fountains' of Enceladus
The Southern 'Fountains' of Enceladus

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

Planetary Researchers modeled eruptions on Saturn's moon Enceladus as "Uniform Curtains" along prominent Surface Fractures that stretch across the icy moon's South Pole. After deeply and carefully studying the images received by the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft, they found out that brightness enhancements of the original pictures appear as (---> could just be) optical illusions that are found in places where the viewer is looking through a "Fold" in the aforementioned "Curtain".

As a matter of fact, the Folds exist because the Fractures in Enceladus' Surface are more wavy than perfectly straight. Therefore, the Planetary Researchers think that this optical illusions are responsible for most - but not all - of what appear to be the visual result of Individual Ice-Particles Jets. Furthermore, some discrete Jets are still required to explain the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's observations.

These so-called "Phantom jets", seen in simulated images produced by the Planetary Researchers (we have one, but we shall show it in the future), line up nicely with some of the Surface Features which were actually seen in the real Cassini images that appear to be discrete Columns of Spray. The correspondence between said simulations and the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's data, suggests that much of the discrete-Jet Structure is just an illusion.

Just out of curiosity, Curtain Eruptions occur on Earth where Molten Rock, or even Magma, gushes out of a Deep Fracture. These Eruptions, which often create spectacular Curtains of Fire, can be seen in places like the Hawaii Islands, Iceland and the Galapagos Islands.

This frame (which is one half of an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19061) 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 South Polar Regions 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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