CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Saturn's Active Atmosphere
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Saturn's Active Atmosphere
PIA 10480

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  Saturn's high north is a seething cauldron of activity filled with roiling cloud bands and swirling vortices.

A corner of the north polar hexagon is seen at upper left.

This view looks toward a region located about 70 degrees north of the planet's equator, in a place that receives continually increasing amounts of sunlight as Saturn's seasons change.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 25, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 541,000 kilometers (336,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 29 kilometers (18 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: September 30, 2008 (PIA 10480)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
three_sixteen (Oct 13, 2008 at 4:11 PM):
I really hope to see more pictures of the hexagon in the future, it's a truly amazing feature!
Red_dragon (Oct 9, 2008 at 3:28 AM):
SUPERB. I especially like how the Hexagon breaks up smaller storms and the vortex below the center of the image.
NeKto (Oct 6, 2008 at 1:07 PM):
i have been waiting for daylight to get to the hexagon. at this level of detail it makes it even more mind boggling that that huge resonance can persist. all the small storms meandering around it make me think the hexagon must have its origins well below the visable weather.
bruno.thiery (Oct 5, 2008 at 6:48 AM):
Do you plan to produce color images of the same region?
Or do you need this special filter to produce all these details, and the resulting image can be rendered in black & white only?
A glorious image anyway, thanks for this.

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