Rings on the horizon

Jan 26, 2011 By Nancy Atkinson
A close look at Enceladus, with Saturn's rings in the background. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has taken a some recent images of two of Saturn’s most notorious moons, where in both images the planet’s rings serve as a backdrop. Above, Enceladus stands out with its cratered surface, but Cassini’s camera also catches a glimpse of the planet’s rings in the background. Geologically young terrain in the middle latitudes of the moon shifts to older, cratered terrain in the northern latitudes.

The image was taken during the spacecraft’s flyby of Enceladus on Nov. 30, 2010, in visible with Cassini’s spacecraft narrow-angle camera, from a distance of approximately 46,000 kilometers (29,000 miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 276 meters (906 feet) per pixel.

Below is a ‘raw’ view of Titan, and the rings.

A closeup of Titan rings, in front of Saturn's rings. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

This close-up view of Titan was taken on January 15, 2011, shows the cloudy atmosphere of the moon, with the rings in the background. Cassini was about 839,213 kilometers away from Titan.

Explore further: Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

More information: See more images at the Cassini website

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Moon Illusion tricks the eye

Jan 19, 2011

We’ve all experienced the Moon Illusion, where our own full Moon looks bigger when seen on the Earth’s horizon. But how about this illusion where you can’t really tell which of these two moons ...

Image: Rings around a crescent

Nov 23, 2010

A crescent Saturn appears nestled within encircling rings in this Cassini spacecraft image. Clouds swirl through the atmosphere of the planet and a barely visible Prometheus orbits between the planet's main ...

Cassini Heading to Titan after Tagging Enceladus

May 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft is on its way to a flyby of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, after capturing some stunning images of Enceladus. One view shows the hazy outline of Titan behind Saturn's ...

Cassini finishes sleigh ride by icy moons

Dec 22, 2010

On the heels of a successful close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is returning images of Enceladus and the nearby moon Dione.

Space Image: Ghostly Encounter

Jun 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The surface of Saturn's moon Dione is rendered in crisp detail against a hazy, ghostly Titan. Visible in this image are hints of atmospheric banding around Titan's north pole.

Recommended for you

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

1 hour ago

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

1 hour ago

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Biomarkers of the deep

3 hours ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
Geologically young terrain in the middle latitudes of the moon shifts to older, cratered terrain in the northern latitudes.


Statement makes no sense. If the craters were older they'd have been weathered, and so wouldn't be there...

The relative age of a crater vs a plain cannot logically be inferred to be older from a photograph.

The fact that several of the craters show up with sharp, clean edges cries that they are relatively young, and haven't been weathered or contaminated by ejecta from other craters, etc.

on the other hand, you can't say what the relative age of the plains are from a photograph, because there is no logical reference. You've made a fallacy in assuming that there used to be craters there which have now been eroded and covered by "new" ice deposits, but there is no evidence of that.

Regardless of absolute age, the craters could well have formed after the plains, as they are, after all, a quarter of the way across the surface of the moon.