Enceladus Creates Saturn's E Ring

The active moon Enceladus appears to be making Saturn's E ring.

An amazing picture showing the moon at work was taken late 2006 by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft and is shown below.
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 below 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.

Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 500 kilometers (310 mi) in diameter, about a tenth of that of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Enceladus is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the solar system. Consequently, its surface temperature at noon only reaches −198 °C (−324 °F), far colder than a light-absorbing body would be.
Despite its small size, Enceladus has a wide range of surface features, ranging from old, heavily cratered regions to young, tectonically deformed terrains that formed as recently as 100 million years ago.

Saturn's E Ring is the second outermost ring and is extremely wide; it consists of many tiny (micron and sub-micron) particles of water ice with silicates, carbon dioxide and ammonia. The E Ring is distributed between the orbits of Mimas and Titan.
Unlike the other rings, it is composed of microscopic particles rather than macroscopic ice chunks. In 2005, the source of the E Ring's material was determined to be cryovolcanic plumes emanating from the "tiger stripes" of the south polar region of the moon Enceladus.
Unlike the main rings, the E Ring is more than 2000 kilometers thick and increases with its distance from Enceladus. Tendril-like structures observed within the E Ring can be related to the emissions of the most active south polar jets of Enceladus.

Credit: CICLOPS, JPL, ESA, NASA

► Source>> https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap070327.html

Further reading and references

► Ghostly Fingers of Enceladus>> http://ciclops.org/view.php?id=2231

► Enceladus>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enceladus

► Saturn's E ring>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn#E_Ring

► Cryovolcano>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryovolcano


#SolarSystem, #Enceladus, #SaturnEring, #CassiniSpacecraft, #Saturn
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