NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its October 1 flyby of Saturn’s moon Enceladus and its jets of water vapor and ice. At its closest approach, the spacecraft flew approximately 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. During the encounter, Cassini’s high-resolution camera captured pictures of the jets emanating from the moon’s south polar region. The images of the surface include previously seen leading-hemisphere terrain. However, during this encounter, multi-spectral imaging of these terrains extended farther into the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum than had previously been achieved at this resolution. By looking at the surface at ultraviolet wavelengths, scientists can better detect the
difference between surface materials and shadows than they can at visible wavelengths, where icy materials are highly reflective and shadows are washed out. Cassini’s next pass of this moon will be on October19, when the spacecraft flies by at an altitude of approximately 765 miles or 1231 kilometers.