Enceladus


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Enceladus

(ĕnsĕl`ədəs), in astronomy, one of the named moons, or natural satellites, of SaturnSaturn,
in astronomy, 6th planet from the sun. Astronomical and Physical Characteristics of Saturn

Saturn's orbit lies between those of Jupiter and Uranus; its mean distance from the sun is c.886 million mi (1.
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. Also known as Saturn II (or S2), Enceladus is 310 mi (500 km) in diameter, orbits Saturn at a mean distance of 147,900 mi (238,020 km), and has equal orbital and rotational periods of 1.37 earth days. It was discovered in 1789 by the English astronomer Sir William HerschelHerschel
, family of distinguished English astronomers. Sir William Herschel

Sir William Herschel, 1738–1822, born Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel, was a great pioneer in astronomy.
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. Enceladus has the highest reflectivity (almost 100%) of any body in the solar system. Its surface, apparently dominated by fresh, clean ice, is marked by few craters, smooth plains, and extensive fissures and ridges. Observations indicate that Enceladus has had five distinct geologic periods. The fresh surface suggests relatively recent cryovolcanism, caused perhaps by tidal forces exerted by Saturn and the moon DioneDione
, in astronomy, one of the named moons, or natural satellites, of Saturn. Also known as Saturn IV (or S4), Dione is 695 mi (1,120 km) in diameter, orbits Saturn at a mean distance of 234,500 mi (377,400 km), and has an orbital period of 2.
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, with which Enceladus forms a satellite pair (that is, they interact gravitationally). In 2005 the space probe Cassini discovered Enceladus has an atmosphere, albeit one that must be replenished by a source on the moon, because its gravity is too weak to permanently retain an atmosphere. The probe also discovered (2006 and subsequent flybys) geyserlike eruptions on the moon. These eruptions contribute material to the replenishment of Saturn's E ring, and are fed by a global saltwater ocean beneath the surface ice. The ocean has a nutrient content that would support microbial life.

Enceladus

(en-sell -ă-dŭs) A satellite of Saturn, discovered in 1789 by William Herschel, that is one of the innermost moons of the planet, orbiting it at a distance of 238 100 km. It has been found to have a varied surface of ancient and youthful geological developments. Its diameter is only 500 km and its density 1.6 g cm–3. Enceladus is the most highly reflective large object in the Solar System with an albedo approaching 1.0. The surface shows evidence of highly cratered regions (5–35 km diameter), smooth plains, and ridged plains. The valleys and ridges indicate crustal movements that may have been associated with faulting and the extrusion of fluids. Tidal effects from the nearby and larger satellite Dione may account for the production of the surface faulting and may have allowed the warmer fluid from the interior to resurface portions of the satellite. This situation also occurs on the Jovian satellite Io, so it is possible that Enceladus is still geologically active. During flybys in February and March 2005, the Cassini/Huygens spacecraft founded evidence of a significant atmosphere of ionized water vapor, due perhaps to volcanism, the eruption of geysers, or the escape of gases from the surface or the interior of Enceladus. The E ring of Saturn shows a pronounced peak of brightness in the orbit of Enceladus and may consist of particles that have escaped from the satellite. See also Table 2, backmatter.

Enceladus

 

a satellite of Saturn, approximately 500 km in diameter and located at a mean distance of 237,900 km from the center of Saturn. It was discovered in 1789 by W. Herschel.

Enceladus

[‚en·se′lä·du̇s]
(astronomy)
A satellite of Saturn orbiting at a mean distance of 153,600 miles (238,000 kilometers).

Enceladus

powerful giant whose hisses cause volcanic eruptions. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 88]
References in periodicals archive ?
As harsh as the moon's conditions are, a recent experiment suggests that Enceladus could support organisms like those that thrive on Earth.
We conclude that some of the CH4 (methane) detected in the plume of Enceladus might, in principle, be produced by methanogens," the researchers in Germany and Austria wrote.
In this file photo taken on October 31, 2005 The moon Enceladus seems to hover above the outer reaches of Saturn's B ring in this NASA image released 31 October, 2005.
Liquid water is suspected on Jupiter's moon - Europa and found on Saturn's moon - Enceladus, where the surface temperature is below -100oC.
At Enceladus, Cassini plunged through plumes of gas, ice and dust spewing out of cracks near the tiny moon's south pole, sampling the water vapour and icy grains with its instruments.
One of Cassini's most important discoveries was the existence of a global watery ocean under the icy surface of Enceladus that could conceivably harbour life.
Scientists believe that, like the similar sub-surface ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa, the vast reservoir of water under the ice of Enceladus could harbour life.
With the spacecraft running low on fuel, Nasa crashed it into Saturnto avoid any chance of it someday colliding with and contaminating Titan, Enceladus or another moon that has the potential for indigenous microbial life.
We've seen in radiant technicolor the now-famous geysers that Cassini discovered shooting from the south polar region of Enceladus.
NYT Syndicate Could icy moons like Saturn's Enceladus in the outer solar system be home to microbes or other forms of alien life?
Another of Cassinis breakthroughs was the detection of a towering plume of water vapour and organic material spraying into space from warm fractures near the south pole of Saturns icy moon, Enceladus.
That puts Dione in good company alongside Enceladus (another moon of Saturn) and several moons of Jupiter, as well as possibly Pluto (SN Online: 9/23/16).