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A gorgeous close-up look at the Saturnian atmosphere reveals small, bright and puffy clouds with long filamentary streamers that are reminiscent of the anvil-shaped Earthly cirrus clouds that extend downwind of thunderstorms. Dark ring shadows hang over the scene while the planet rotates beneath.
The image was taken in infrared light (939 nanometers) with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 29, 2005, at a distance of approximately 388,000 kilometers (241,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 20 kilometers (12 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced to improve visibility of features in the atmosphere.
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 Science Mission Directorate, 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.