CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Wavy Polar Jet
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Wavy Polar Jet
PIA 18287

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  Nature is often more complex and wonderful than it first appears. For example, although it looks like a simple hexagon, this feature surrounding Saturn's north pole is really a manifestation of a meandering polar jet stream. Scientists are still working to understand more about its origin and behavior.

For more on the hexagon, see PIA11682.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 24, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 605,000 miles (973,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 19 degrees. Image scale is 36 miles (58 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: October 6, 2014 (PIA 18287)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Oct 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM):
hypothesis number 68783 as to why a hexagon; because no one told the civilization that lives in Saturn's atmosphere that the proper shape of a stop sign is an octogon.
jokes asside, love the image.

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