Bright, high-altitude clouds interact with dark, deeper structures near Saturn's south pole. The dark vortices near lower right are two especially large examples of such deep structures. These vortices create eddies in the higher clouds at adjacent latitudes as they pass by.
This image has been strongly contrast enhanced in order to sharpen details in the layered clouds near lower right.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 27, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 457,000 kilometers (284,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 24 kilometers (15 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.