Astronomy Picture of the Day

Enceladus Ice Geysers

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Enceladus Ice Geysers


Ice geysers erupt on
bright and shiny inner moon of Saturn.

Shown in
false-color image
, a backlit view of the moon's southern
limb, the majestic, icy plumes were discovered by
instruments on the Cassini Spacecraft during close encounters
with Enceladus in November of 2005.

Eight source locations
for these geysers have now been identified
along substantial
surface fractures
in the moon's south polar region.

Researchers suspect the
from near-surface
pockets of liquid water with
near 273 kelvins (0 degrees C).

That's hot when compared to the distant
moon's surface temperature of 73 kelvins (-200 degrees C).

The cryovolcanism
is a dramatic sign that tiny,
500km-diameter Enceladus is surprisingly active.

Enceladus ice geysers also likely produce Saturn's faint but extended E

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