CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Vanishing Pole

The terminator nearly covers the south pole of Saturn and its stormy vortex in darkness. As the southern hemisphere moves toward winter in the planet's 29-year orbit, darkness eventually will consume the vortex. But this seasonal change also will bring the north pole into the light.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 69 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 6, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 761,000 kilometers (473,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 96 degrees. Image scale is 42 kilometers (26 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: February 24, 2009 (PIA 10585)
Image/Caption Information
  Vanishing Pole
PIA 10585

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Feb 28, 2009 at 2:59 PM):
Talking about future events, check out this:

Hope will be luck and we'll have more years of "Cassining"