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Saturn's Moon is Spewing 'Snow Cannon' At Neighbouring Moons, Says NASA

Saturn's Moon is Spewing 'Snow Cannon' At Neighbouring Moons, Says NASA

Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the 53 lunar orbs orbiting Saturn and one of the large inner moons.

Recent radar observations by NASA's probe has revealed an icy world coating its neighbours in frozen water like an automatic 'snow cannon', revealed a report in Express UK.

The discovery that was made by astronomer Alice Le Gall and her colleagues from the University of Paris-Saclay were published in a paper dubbed “Saturn’s inner moons: why are they so radar-bright?”

The discovery was made by astronomers at the University of Paris-Saclay in France, two years after Cassini’s mission ended, the report further stated.

Notably, Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the 53 lunar orbs orbiting Saturn and one of the large inner moons that also include Mimas, Tethys and Dione.

Researchers have found that the moons shine brighter than other moons of Saturn, suggesting their surfaces are much more reflective.

This, Cassini says is because of Enceladus, which is spewing geysers of water into orbit that falls back down in the form of snow. Some of it even reaches Mimas and Tethy, making them more reflective.

Alice Le Gall and her colleagues presented their findings at a meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the study, the radar brightness of Mimas, Enceladus and Tethys at 2.2cm wavelength exceeds that of the Galilean satellites, which points to extremely fresh and clean water ice in their subsurface structures. It further points towards the presence of scattering structures that are especially efficient at returning waves in the back direction.

Astronomers believe Enceladus is home to powerful geysers that spew jets.

Speaking about the moon’s icy layer, Le Gall said that they now know that the snow is actually accumulating and that it’s not just a thin veneer but a much thicker layer of water ice.

first published:September 24, 2019, 12:33 IST