Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cassini find high speed jets of water on Enceladus

This photo shows jets of water vapor shooting from Saturn's moon Enceladus, taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. These jets extend hundreds of kilometers from the moon's south pole. They were observed during a flyby on 24 October 2007, when the probe's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) observed a star as it passed behind the plumes. By measuring how much starlight was absorbed during the passage, scientists discerned four distinct jets in the plume. The jets were still tightly focused at an altitude of 15 km above the surface, suggesting they were moving faster than 2100 km per hour. There is some speculation that these jets might indicate subsurface oceans of liquid water.

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Thanks to Shaun Saunders for the post

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