August 28 – Discovery of Enceladus (1789)

Enceladus was discovered on this day in 1789 by William Herschel. This 500km diameter moon of Saturn has been proven recently to have the most impresive volcanoes in the Solar System. They are cryovolcanoes, so what comes out is cold (in this case water), and study of them has shown that they have been able to project water as far as Saturn itself, as well as providing enough ice to make up the parent planet’s “E ring”.

Enceladus (image credit: NASA)
Enceladus (image credit: NASA)
Enceladus venting, probably as a result of hydrothermal activity. (Image: NASA/JPL/SSI)
Enceladus venting, probably as a result of hydrothermal activity. (Image: NASA/JPL/SSI)

Enkelados was one of the Gigantes, children of Uranus and Gaia. This particular one, for his sins, was wounded in battle by Athene and buried under Mount Etna. Being buried under a volcano was a common fate for the assorted monsters and giants defeated by the Olympian gods. I suppose it was a handy method for explaining away subterranean rumblings.

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ALSO TODAY . . . .

Asteroid 167 Urda discovered in 1876 by Christian H F Peters.
George Eric Deacon Alcock MBE was born in Peterborough, 1912.

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