CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Saturn ... Four Years Later

New hues are creeping into Saturn's northern cloud bands as winter gives way to spring there.

During its first four years of exploration, Cassini has made the Saturn system a familiar place to us Earthlings. The intrepid craft has returned more than 150,000 images since arriving in orbit in mid-2004.

In this natural color image, the blues and grays of Saturn's northern hemisphere, so striking in early Cassini images, are diminishing in intensity with the slow change of seasons on Saturn, and are almost imperceptibly being replaced by pale shades of the colors commonly seen by Cassini in the planet's southern hemisphere.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from less than a degree below the ring plane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 23, 2008, at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (740,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 68 kilometers (42 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: June 27, 2008 (PIA 08415)
Image/Caption Information
  Saturn ... Four Years Later
PIA 08415

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Jun 28, 2008 at 5:23 AM):
Four years... and it seems it was yesterday when we were awaiting with excitation for the success of the S.O.I and wondering what Cassini would discover at Saturn.
I send you my most sincere congratulations for the excellent work you've done these years, making those exciting discoveries -and best of all, sharing them with us- and I thank you for posting everyday from monday to friday with nearly swiss punctuality an usually amazing -as it's the case- image, making our day.
My best wishes for the Equinox Mission. May the odyssey of the "Supreme Explorer" last many more years.