Views like this one from Cassini are helping scientists unravel some of the mysteries of Saturn’s complex atmosphere.
The turbulent, wavy pattern at the bottom of the image has the appearance of a region that may be spawning vortices, or swirling storms, in the planet’s atmosphere. The bright chaotic region at the top appears to have strong vertical winds. To understand the nature of activity taking place in a region on Saturn, imaging scientists often compare views of the same region taken at different times.
This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Jan. 23, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.8 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 727 nanometers. The image scale is 16 kilometers (10 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.