Cassini peers through Titan's thick clouds to spy on the region dubbed "Senkyo" by scientists. The dark features are believed to be vast dunes of particles dropped out of Titan's atmosphere. At the very bottom of Titan, the polar vortex can be seen as well.
Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is 3200 miles (5150 kilometers) across.
For more on Senkyo, see PIA08231. For a color image of the south polar vortex on Titan, see PIA14919. For a movie of the vortex, see PIA14920.
Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Titan. North on Titan is up and rotated 18 degrees to the right. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 5, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 79 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice 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.