Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2007 March 27
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.

Enceladus Creates Saturn's E Ring
Credit: CICLOPS, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: The active moon Enceladus appears to be making Saturn's E ring. An amazing picture showing the moon at work was taken late last year by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft and is shown above. Enceladus is the dark spot inside the bright flare, right near the center of Saturn's E ring. Streams of ice and water vapor can be seen pouring off Enceladus into the E ring. The above bright image of the normally faint E-ring was made possible by aligning Cassini so that Saturn blocked the Sun. From that perspective, small ring particles reflect incoming sunlight more efficiently. Cassini has now been orbiting Saturn for almost three years, and is scheduled to swoop by the unexpectedly cryovolcanic Enceladus at least several more times.

View this page (with external links) online at
http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070327.html.


< | Archive | Index | Calendar | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index