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Titan's south polar vortex mimics the moon itself, creating an elegant crescent within a crescent. Situated above the surrounding polar atmosphere, the raised walls along the sunward side of the vortex just catch the grazing sunlight, creating a crescent of its own.
Titan (3200 miles, 5150 kilometers across) is Saturn's largest moon and possesses a dense and dynamic atmosphere. For a color image of the south polar vortex on Titan, see PIA14919. For a movie of the vortex, see PIA14920.
This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Titan. North on Titan is up. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 1, 2013 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 939 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 108,000 miles (174,000 kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 6 miles (10 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.