CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder
PIA 10596

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  Through the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere of Saturn rolls a large storm, seen here as a tight dark circle in the lower left of this image.

Horizontal strands of other atmospheric formations give the image the fibrous look of travertine stone. Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) is a small dark dot in the top right part of the image.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 30, 2008 using a combination of polarized and spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (739,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 27 degrees. Image scale is 68 kilometers (42 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: March 11, 2009 (PIA 10596)
Image/Caption Information