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Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons of Saturn. It was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel.
In 2005 the Cassini spacecraft performed several close flybys of Enceladus, revealing the moon's surface and environment in greater detail. In particular, the probe discovered a water-rich plume venting from the moon's south polar region. This discovery, along with the presence of escaping internal heat and very few (if any) impact craters in the south polar region, shows that Enceladus is geologically active today.
Analysis of the outgassing suggests that it originates from a body of sub-surface liquid water, which along with the unique chemistry found in the plume, has fuelled speculations that Enceladus may be important in the study of astrobiology.

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The moon Enceladus, one of the jewels of the Saturn system, sparkles peculiarly bright in new images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The images of the moon, the first ever taken of Enceladus with Cassini's synthetic aperture radar, reveal new details of some of the grooves in the moon's south polar region and unexpected textures in the ice. These images, obtained on Nov. 6, 2011, are the highest-resolution images of this region obtained so far.
The area on Enceladus observed by Cassini's radar instrument does not include the famous "tiger stripes," fissures that eject great plumes of ice particles and water vapor, but covers regions just a few hundred miles away from the stripes. Scientists are scrutinizing an area around 63 degrees south latitude and 51 degrees west longitude that appears to be very rough, a texture that shows up as very bright in the radar images.

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Cassini Flyby Focuses on Saturn's Moon Enceladus

20111107ring-640.jpg
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA's Cassini spacecraft obtained this unprocessed image of Enceladus on Nov. 6, 2011 and received on Earth November 07, 2011.
The camera was pointing toward Enceladus at approximately 144,790 kilometres away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

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Orion's Belt Lights Up Cassini's View of Enceladus

NASA's Cassini mission will take advantage of the position of two of the three stars in Orion's belt when the spacecraft flies by Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wed., Oct. 19. As the hot, bright stars pass behind the moon's icy jets, Cassini's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph will acquire a two-dimensional view of these dramatic plumes of water vapour and icy material erupting from the moon's southern polar region. This flyby is the mission's first-ever opportunity to probe the jets with two stars simultaneously, a dual stellar occultation.
From Cassini's viewpoint, the closest of Orion's stars will appear about 15 kilometres above the moon's limb, or outer edge. The second star will appear higher, about 30 kilometres from the limb. In the foreground will be Enceladus' icy plumes, which extend hundreds of miles into space.

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Saturn's moon has never-ending winter

Jets of water vapour and ice shooting from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus have been active for up to 100 million years, boosting the odds that the moon harbours a liquid ocean beneath its icy surface, a study suggests. If the existence of such an ocean is confirmed, Enceladus will become one of the most promising places in the Solar System in which to search for signs of extraterrestrial life.
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Enceladus weather: Snow flurries and perfect powder for skiing

Global and high resolution mapping of Enceladus confirms that the weather forecast for Saturn's unique icy moon is set for ongoing snow flurries.  The superfine ice crystals that coat Enceladus's surface would make perfect powder for skiing, according to Dr Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute (Houston, Texas), who will present the results at the EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011 in Nantes, France on Monday 3rd October.
Mapping of global colour patterns and measurements of surface layer thicknesses show that ice particles fall back onto the surface of Enceladus in a predictable pattern.  Mapping of these deposits indicate that the plumes and their heat source are relatively long-lived features lasting millennia and probably tens of million years or more, and have blanketed areas of the surface in a thick layer of tiny ice particles.

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Saturn's Moon Enceladus Spreads Its Influence

The small, dynamic moon spews out dramatic plumes of water vapour and ice -- first seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2005. It possesses simple organic particles and may house liquid water beneath its surface. Its geyser-like jets create a gigantic halo of ice, dust and gas around Enceladus that helps feed Saturn's E ring. Now, thanks again to those icy jets, Enceladus is the only moon in our solar system known to influence substantially the chemical composition of its parent planet.
In June, the European Space Agency announced that its Herschel Space Observatory, which has important NASA contributions, had found a huge donut-shaped cloud, or torus, of water vapour created by Enceladus encircling Saturn. The torus is more than 600,000 kilometres across and about 60,000 kilometres thick. It appears to be the source of water in Saturn's upper atmosphere.
Though it is enormous, the cloud had not been seen before because water vapour is transparent at most visible wavelengths of light. But Herschel could see the cloud with its infrared detectors.

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This image of Saturn's Moon Enceladus was taken by the Cassini spaceprobe on the 13th September, 2011 when the spacecraft was approximately 49,788 kilometres away.

ENC130911B.jpg
Expand (211kb, 1024 x 1024)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.



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Herschel confirme: Encelade fait la pluie sur Saturne

Utilisant les données du télescope infrarouge Herschel de l'ESA, une équipe internationale incluant cinq chercheurs de l'Observatoire de Paris et du CNRS a résolu le mystère vieux de 15 ans de l'origine de l'eau dans la haute atmosphère de Saturne. Le composé est expulsé sous forme de vapeur et de glace par les geysers et panaches actifs au pôle sud d'Encelade, une des lunes de la planète géante aux anneaux. Le satellite de 500 kilomètres de diamètre rejette ainsi environ 250 kilogrammes d'eau par seconde puis elle s'accumule en un vaste nuage diffus qui dessine un anneau qui entoure Saturne. Lentement, 3 % à 5 % de cette matière finit par retomber dans l'atmosphère de la planète. Encelade constitue ainsi le premier exemple d'un satellite du Système solaire qui influence la composition de son astre parent.
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Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons of Saturn. It was discovered on the 28th August, 1789, by William Herschel.
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