If you’re trying to learn more about the solar system, then it’s worth looking at different moons. You’ve undoubtedly come across quite a few, with one of the best known moons being Enceladus. It is the sixth largest moon that orbits Saturn from quite a close proximity. So, let’s look at some facts about Enceladus and see what we can learn about this moon.
Enceladus Moon Facts
- Enceladus has a radius of approximately 155 miles (252km). This makes it the sixth largest moon that orbits Saturn.
- This makes it only 1/200th the size of the planet Saturn, and around 1/10th the size of Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan.
- Enceladus orbits this planet at a distance of approximately 148,000 miles (238,000 km).
- It takes Enceladus around 33 hours for it to make one full lap around Saturn.
- Enceladus is named after one of the Giants from Greek mythology.
- Enceladus was discovered all the way back in 1789 by William Herschel, the same man who discovered Uranus.
- This moon has many craters across it’s surface, with Dunyazad being one of the largest with a 30km diameter.
- The average temperature on the surface of Enceladus is -201°c.
- Enceladus is actually one of the most reflective moons, due to it’s icy surface.
- There are more than one hundred different geysers on the surface of Enceladus.
Common Questions about Enceladus
Where does Enceladus get its name?
One of the Giants in Greek mythology is called Enceladus, which is where this moon gets it’s name from. Enceladus was the son of Uranus and Gaia, and was matched up against Athena in the battle between the Olympians and the Giants. However, there are many different mentions of Enceladus’s death throughout Greek mythology, so we aren’t exactly sure who exactly killed him. It is mentioned that both Athena and Zeus may have killed Enceladus, as well as Dionysus, the God of Wine and son of Zeus.
What is Enceladus made of?
In the past, we thought that Enceladus was primarily made up of water ice. However, more recent missions into space have given more insight into this moon, and we now know that it has a lot more mass than we thought previously. We think that the core of Enceladus is made up of rock, and outside of this it likely a subsurface ocean beneath this moons crust. We think that this is probably around 10km deep beneath the surface of Enceladus.
What is on Enceladus’s surface?
We know quite a lot about the surface of the moon Enceladus. We first visited and learned about it’s surface in 1981 with the Voyager spacecrafts, and the Cassini-Huygens mission has allowed us to learn even more about it’s surface. Enceladus has many different types of terrain, all varying in age. It is known for it’s craters, although there are two large plains on it which are almost complete smooth and crater free. Enceladus has the same Tectonic features that you might find on Earth, with many groove and ridges.
What is the orbit pattern of Enceladus?
Enceladus is one of Saturn’s inner satellites, along with Mimas and Dione. It only takes around 33 hours for it to complete one full orbit around the planet, which shows just how close it is and how fast it travels. It actually is in a 2:1 orbital resonance with the moon Dione, which means that it does 2 laps around Saturn for every one lap Dione does. It is tidally locked to Saturn, which means that it always keeps the same side facing toward the planet.
All in all, Enceladus is actually one of the moons of Saturn that we know quite a lot about. It is a moon that is geologically active, with a lot going on on it’s surface. We also fairly recently found out about the ocean beneath it’s surface, which gives astronomers thought that there may be life on Enceladus.