CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Stormy Pole

Saturn's north pole is littered with storms, as we see in this color view of the pole. A bit of the north polar hexagon is also visible at the upper-right. Cassini scientists are looking forward to sunrise on this pole next year so that they can better study it.

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 Nov. 16, 2008 at a distance of approximately 673,000 kilometers (418,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 71 degrees. Image scale is 37 kilometers (23 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: January 9, 2009 (PIA 10553)
Image/Caption Information
  Stormy Pole
PIA 10553

Avg Rating: 8.88/10

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Alliance Member Comments
bruno.thiery (Jan 24, 2009 at 3:26 AM):
These views of the pole are always a pleasure to the eye, but coulour adds to the magnificence.
NeKto (Jan 12, 2009 at 8:51 AM):
What is known about the chemistry of the color change? The detail in this image makes the "spring" color change on Saturn as pleasant to watch as the foliage of a New England autumn. (just my opinion)
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 11, 2009 at 9:59 AM):
The best hypothesis for the hexagon is that it is a planetary-scale wave of some kind. One of the imaging team members is busy working out a theory for it. Stay tuned!
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Jan 10, 2009 at 10:05 PM):
It's remarkable that no special color filters were needed by the Cassini spacecraft for taking this picture. It's a normal color view. In it, we are seeing both yellowish and bluish hues.
NeKto (Jan 10, 2009 at 8:05 AM):
marvelous detail.
are there any hypotheses out there that can explain what sustains the hexagon?
Red_dragon (Jan 9, 2009 at 1:17 PM):
Amazing image. The subtle way bluish and salmon hues merge really is a gift fot the eyes.