Saturn's tides drive icy moon's plumes

Saturn's tides drive icy moon's plumes

Enceladus' chilly jets ebb and flow in time with the planet’s tug

By Jessica Shugart, 09:21 AM July 31, 2013

Icy geysers repeatedly erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus owe their Old Faithful-esque regularity to the planet’s tidal pull. An analysis of 252 images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft proves what many scientists have suspected since the probe discovered the regular eruptions in 2005.

In 2007, Cassini scientists developed a mathematical simulation suggesting that the jets are powered by Saturn’s gravitational pull, which waxes and wanes throughout Enceladus’ egg-shaped 33-hour orbit. T...

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