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Cassini visits Enceladus:
New light on a bright world

(Released July 2006)

  by Salvatore A. Vittorio  


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Cryovolcanic: Of or pertaining to cryovolcanoes, which are, literally, icy volcanoes. Cryovolcanoes form on icy moons, such as Enceladus, and possibly on other low temperature astronomical objects. Rather than molten rock, these volcanoes erupt volatiles such as water, ammonia, or methane compounds.

Diapir: In geology, a dome or anticlinal (layered strata inclined down and away from the axis) fold in which a mobile plastic core has ruptured the more brittle overlying rock

Ion cyclotron waves: Waves associated with the longitudinal oscillation of the ions (and electrons) in a magnetized plasma (highly ionized gas), propagating nearly (but not exactly) perpendicular to the magnetic field.

Magnetometer: An instrument for measuring the magnitude and sometimes also the direction of a magnetic field, such as the Earth's magnetic field.

Mantle: The intermediate shell zone of a planet, or planetary natural satellite, that lies below the crust and above the core.

Occultations: The disappearances of the lights of celestial bodies by interventions of other bodies having larger apparent size; especially, lunar eclipses of stars or planets.

Scarps: Cliffs or steep slopes of some extent, generally separating two level or gently sloping areas, and produced by erosion or by faulting. Also known as escarpments.

Silicate: Any of a large group of minerals, whose crystal lattice contains SiO4 tetrahedra, either isolated or joined through one or more of the oxygen atoms.

Tectonic: Of or relating to tectonics, a branch of geology that deals with regional structural and deformational features of the Earth's crust, including the mutual relations, origin, and historical evolution of the features.

Volatiles: Matter that is readily passed off by evaporation.