Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 23, 2015

Samarkand Sulci
Samarkand Sulci

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

The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft, during its final close Fly-By of the Saturnian icy-moon Enceladus, captured this view of the nearly (---> almost) parallel (and sinuous) Furrows and Ridges which characterize the Enceladian Surface Feature named Samarkand Sulci (---> Sulcus: Canyon, Crack of the Surface).

This view is centered on Terrain located at 13° North Latitude and 336° West Longitude. The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Narrow-Angle Camera on December, 19, 2015, using a spectral filter, which preferentially admits Wavelengths of Near-UltraViolet Light and it was acquired at a distance of approximately 8.000 miles (such as aboiut 12.874,72 Km) from the Surface of Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 58°. The image scale is roughly 243 feet (such as about 74,0664 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 17209) 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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