Saturn's captivating cloud bands display a number of interesting features in this narrow angle camera image from May 20, 2004. On close inspection, the sub-equatorial bands at around 20 degrees south latitude have a braided rope-like appearance. Also noteworthy are swirls and vortices around 60 degrees south latitude. The moon Mimas (396 kilometers, 246 miles across) is visible just below and to the right of Saturn's south pole.
The image was taken when Cassini was 22 million kilometers (13.7 million miles) from Saturn through a filter centered at 727 nanometers. The image scale is 131 kilometers (81 miles) per pixel. Contrast in the image was enhanced to aid visibility.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.