This close-up of Saturn's atmosphere shows a considerable amount of turbulent activity on the ragged edge of the equatorial cloud band. The turbulence is a direct result of internal heat from the planet and absorbed sunlight, and is generally lower in Saturn's bland atmosphere than in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Earth. This leads to a generally lower level of turbulence on Saturn and may account for its higher wind speeds, compared to Jupiter and Earth.
The image was taken with the narrow angle camera on September 25, 2004, from a distance of 7.7 million kilometers (4.8 million miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 889 nanometers. The image scale is 92 kilometers (57 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.