The probe Cassini discovered the hot spots on the icy moon Enceladus

02.12.2010


Ivan Terekhov


Experts of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aerospace Agency of the United States (NASA JPL) described the results of the "good-bye" Cassini probe to Saturn's moon Enceladus.


During a flyby of the satellite at a distance of 47.9 km on November 30 of this year with an infrared spectrometer and high-resolution cameras probe was temperature maps of "hot spots" at the south pole in the "tiger stripes" — long cracks that emit jets into space of water vapor and ice. The use of the spectrometer has revealed previously unknown branching cracks in the ends of the "tiger stripes" and the mysterious warm spot isolated from other similar entities. Speaking of "hot spots" Enceladus is meant the temperature from minus 103 to minus 83 degrees Celsius.

 

 


"Hot spots" at the south pole of Enceladus


"The edges of the" tiger stripes "can be places where the activity has just begun. The observed mosaic of "warm spots" will help us to understand the life cycle of "tiger stripes" — said the researcher Cassini mission John Spencer (John Spencer).

 


Map of "hot spots" at the south pole of Enceladus


Enceladus, with its small size — its diameter is only 498 km — is quite an interesting object: it has the highest of all the celestial bodies in the solar system reflectivity (albedo). Companion surface reflects about 90% of the incident light due to the fact that it is completely covered on the outside with ice. It is also famous for jets of particles of water ice and vapor are released into space from the fissures near the south pole — these "fountains" in 2005, Cassini discovered. In 2009, researchers reported the analysis of the probe data, which indicate that a surface is Enceladus ocean saltwater.

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