Before Darkness Falls: Cassini to Scan Enceladus on Winter's Cusp

Nov 20, 2009
Artist's concept of Cassini's Nov. 21, 2009, Enceladus flyby. Image credit: NASA/JPL

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft will fly by Saturn's moon Enceladus this weekend for a last peek at the intriguing "tiger stripes" before winter darkness blankets the area for several years.

Scientists are particularly interested in the tiger stripes, which are fissures in the south polar region, because they spew jets of water vapor and other particles hundreds of kilometers, or miles, from the surface.

The flyby, which is sometimes called "E8" because it is the eighth targeted flyby of Enceladus, is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 UTC, which is the evening of Friday, Nov. 20 in U.S. time zones. Cassini team members expect to fly the to within about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of the moon's surface, at around 82 degrees south latitude. This will be a more distant flyby than the one on Nov. 2, when Cassini flew about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the surface.

During this flyby, scientists will focus on a tiger stripe called Baghdad Sulcus and create a contiguous thermal map of the feature. The spacecraft will also be snapping high-resolution images of the southern part of the Saturn-facing hemisphere.

For more information on the , click here.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Telescopes focus on target of ESA's asteroid mission

Related Stories

Cassini Begins Transmitting Data From Enceladus Flyby

Aug 12, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Shortly after 9:03 p.m. Pacific Time, the Cassini spacecraft began sending data to Earth following a close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus. During closest approach, Cassini successfully passed ...

Cassini spacecraft: Mystifying pictures

Jul 20, 2005

The Cassini spacecraft has coasted to its closest encounter yet with Saturn's icy moon Enceladus -- but the pictures it took mystify NASA scientists.

Cassini Attempts 12th Titan Flyby

Feb 28, 2006

NASA's Cassini spacecraft returns to Titan on Monday for its twelfth flyby since beginning to survey Saturn and its moons on July 4, 2004.

Cassini Flies Through Watery Plumes of Saturn Moon

Mar 14, 2008

NASA's Cassini spacecraft performed a daring flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wed., March 12, flying about 15 kilometers per second (32,000 mph) through icy water geyser-like jets. The spacecraft snatched ...

Recommended for you

Early Titan was a cold, hostile place for life

3 hours ago

Titan is a mysterious orange-socked moon of Saturn that is exciting to astrobiologists because it has some of the same kinds of chemicals that were precursors to life on Earth. It also has a hydrological ...

Image: Spirals in Saturn's D Ring

4 hours ago

Although the D ring of Saturn is so thin that it's barely noticeable compared to the rest of the ring system, it still displays structures seen in other Saturnian rings. Here the spiral structures in the ...

Russian cosmonaut sets record for most time in space

5 hours ago

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who is the current commander of the International Space Station, has set a new record for most time spent in space, with a total of 803 days, Russian space agency said Tuesday.

Up, up and away, in the name of science education

21 hours ago

US researchers extol the virtues of high-altitude balloons for science education in a research paper published in the International Journal of Learning Technology. According to Jeremy Straub of the University of North Dakota ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.