CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Waves and Shear
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This remarkably detailed view of Saturn's clouds reveals waves at the northern boundary of the bright equatorial zone, presumably associated with the strong shear there and the density difference across the boundary with the band to the north. The intense eastward-flowing jet at the equator makes the edges of the equatorial zone among the most strongly sheared on the planet.

To the south, two dark ovals embrace, while dark ring shadows blanket the north. The moon Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) occupies a mere two pixels beneath the rings, at left of center.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 16, 2006, using a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 118 kilometers (73 miles) per pixel.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: May 1, 2006 (PIA 08168)
Image/Caption Information
  Waves and Shear
PIA 08168

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