Saturn's north pole retains its bluish hue in this true color Cassini image, even as northern winter is coming to an end. The azure blue of Saturn's winter hemisphere during the early Cassini prime mission still remains a puzzle. Over the course of time, the blue color has faded and has been replaced with bands of other hues (see PIA11141).
The north pole is in shadow here, but a portion of its oscillating hexagonal pattern is visible. Storms create the look of a pockmarked surface.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 29, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.098 million kilometers (683,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 38 degrees. Image scale is 62 kilometers (39 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.