ENCELADUS (ZOOM 1-3)

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Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/JPL Michael Benson/Kinetikon Pictures.

As if it’s attempting to garner the attention of the mighty Saturn (72,367 miles in diameter), Enceladus (310 miles in diameter) vents vast liquid geysers deep into space from its south polar region as its being illuminated both from the Sun and the reflecting light off Saturn itself.

What we’re actually seeing in this image isn’t Enceladus trying to do anything obviously but in fact it’s because of Saturn that this event takes place at all.  Tidal forces push, pull and squeeze Enceladus to where the famous “Tiger Stripe” region vents liquid many miles into space and actually, at least in part, creates Saturn’s E-ring.  The cracks are upwards of 80 miles in length, 2 miles wide and about 1600 feet deep.

This incredible image was created with NASA/JPL Cassini raw data by Mike Benson and displayed in his latest book “Planetfall: New Solar System Visions.”

Michael Benson: http://michael-benson.net/

Planetfall: http://www.abramsbooks.com/planetfall/

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