CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Night (left) and day side (right) narrow angle images taken on January 1, 2001 illustrating lightning flashes captured on the night side and their sources regions seen on the day side approximately 2 hours earlier. The images have been enhanced in contrast. The lightning locations on the night side images are coincident with bright, high clouds: when the effects of the planet's curvature are accounted for in these images, the upper pair of lightning flashes in the dark side image can be traced to the medium-bright cloud patch along the upper right edge of the day side image. The brighter pair of small clouds to the right of upper center in the day side image is probably also generating lightning, though no lightning was captured in this location by the camera when the night side image was taken. The cluster of lightning flashes in the lower left originates within the core of the swirling storm in the lower left of the day side image.

The storms occur at 34 degrees and 23.5 degrees North latitude, within one degree of the latitudes at which similar lightning features were detected by the Galileo spacecraft.

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 Office of Space Science, 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/University of Arizona
Released: January 22, 2001
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