CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Keep It Rolling

A line of vortices rolls through the turbulent region on Saturn nicknamed "Storm Alley" by Cassini scientists. This latitude band, centered around 35 degrees south, has displayed persistent, intensive storm activity since Cassini began its approach to Saturn in early 2004.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 23, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (622,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 56 kilometers (35 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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: August 28, 2008 (PIA 10457)
Image/Caption Information
  Keep It Rolling
PIA 10457

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Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Sep 2, 2008 at 8:16 AM):
Red_dragon: Yes, that's right. Returning a video stream would take either a lot of power and a very large antenna on the spacecraft, or more sophisticated compression schemes for compressing the images than we currently have. This is one of the big challenges in mission design for outer solar system missions: how to downlink all the necessary information.
Red_dragon (Aug 31, 2008 at 10:07 AM):
Why cannot be probes equipped with videocameras?. (after all, the heart of a videocamera is a CCD). Perhaps because to transmit to Earth a video -instead of fixed images- would be time consuming, since a video "weighs" more than an image?
Mercury_3488 (Aug 30, 2008 at 8:14 AM):
WOW wonderful view. Looks more like Jupiter in some respects with those giant storms.

I assume they are producing lightning?

One question. Has Cassini imaged lightning over the nightside as the Voyagers, Galileo, Cassini & New Horizons did with Jupiter?

Anyway, fantastic & incredibly beautiful.

Andrew Brown.
Red_dragon (Aug 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM):
To rulesfor: Here's what one gets when combining images taken with other filters. They're both familiar and alien:
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Aug 28, 2008 at 3:14 PM):
rulesfor: To make a color image requires that we return at least 3 images in different spectral regions....generally, red, green and blue...of the same scene. Of course, that would mean 3x as many images, and there are limitations to how much data we can return from Saturn. So, if color is not necessary for the science objective being addressed -- for example, in that image of Prometheus pulling on the F ring -- then we merely return one clear-filter image and color is not possible. Only sometimes, do we actually take color images just to take a beautiful image. Those go by a number of names, including Kodak Moments or Photo Ops. Our big Jupiter mosaic was one such image product. But mostly, we take images in different spectral bands for scientific purposes. And when we do, we can then construct a color image.

It is my dream that someday, we'll be able to send spacecraft to the planets equipped with video cameras and the best imaging devices for the express purpose of returning streaming color video of all the beautiful and fantastic sights there are to be seen out there. But we're not there yet!
rulesfor (Aug 28, 2008 at 1:19 PM):
I especially love these natural color views of Saturn. A quick question - why aren't they all in color? Thanks.
Red_dragon (Aug 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM):
Keep them coming; images as this make our day. Thanks again for this superb stuff.