CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Summer is Coming!

Summer is Coming!
PIA 14661

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  Summer is slowly coming to Saturn's northern hemisphere. The north pole, which was in the midst of a 7-year-long winter when Cassini arrived in 2004, is now seen basking in the sunlight of mid-spring. Cassini is taking full advantage of the sunlight to capture these amazing views of the north polar hexagon and the myriad of storms, large and small, that comprise the weather systems in the polar region.

This view is centered on terrain at 75 degrees north latitude, 322 degrees west longitude. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 26, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 383,000 miles (616,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 48 degrees. Image scale is 21 miles (33 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: May 20, 2013 (PIA 14661)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
stuart.holtby (May 21, 2013 at 9:22 PM):
1. Has anyone sorted out why the hexagon persists? and are there any similar features on other gas giants?
2. How far ahead is Cassini's orbit plotted? and how (and how often) is an adjustment made to the trajectory? It is mostly empty space, but it must be an amazingly complex calculation to make sure you don't hit anything, yet still swing close to your targets.