This moon is shining by the light of its planet.
Specifically, a large portion of Enceladus
is illuminated primarily by sunlight first reflected from the
The result is that the normally
snow-white moon appears in the gold color of
Saturn’s cloud tops.
As most of the illumination comes from the image left, a
labyrinth of ridges throws notable shadows just to the right of the image center, while the kilometer-deep canyon
Labtayt Sulci is visible just below.
The bright thin crescent on the far right is the only part of
directly lit by the Sun.
The above image
was taken last year by the robotic
Cassini spacecraft during a close pass by by the enigmatic moon.
Inspection of the lower part of this digitally sharpened image reveals
plumes of ice
crystals thought to originate in a