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Cassini photographed Enceladus on Orion’s belt

Cassini photographed Enceladus on Orion’s belt

«Кассини» заснял Энцелад на фоне пояса Ориона


N+1 / Cassini / NASA

The spacecraft Cassini took the span of Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn, against the background of the Central star of Orion’s belt — Alnilam. The main objective of the probe was to study how the changing light of a star, after passing through the geysers of Enceladus. Symbiotically the archive images of the mission “Cassini”.

The main part of the observations was carried out using an ultraviolet spectrometer UVIS. Alnilam refers to the spectral class of blue supergiants, so in his light, a large proportion of ultraviolet radiation. Passing through particles of ice and dust emitted by Enceladus, the radiation is partially absorbed. On the basis of how it is arranged the pattern of absorption scientists can determine what substances are ejected by the geysers.

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At the time of the observations the distance between Cassini and the heavenly body was about a million miles, the distance to Alnilam — about two thousand light-years. In the animation, the star is above and to the right of the center, the plume from the geysers on the surface of Enceladus is located above the disk of the satellite. Some differences between frames related to the fact that they were made using different filters.

Observation of the heavenly bodies of the stars is one of the famous ways to explore their atmosphere and immediate environment. For example, as we have discovered the rings of Uranus and studied the atmosphere of Pluto.

Vladimir Korolev

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