Flowing “Cat’s Eye”

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a closeup image of Saturn's atmosphere

During its time in orbit, Cassini has spotted many beautiful cat's eye-shaped patterns like the ones visible here. These patterns occur in places where the winds and the atmospheric density at one latitude are different from those at another latitude.

The opposing east-west flowing cloud bands are the dominant patterns seen here and elsewhere in Saturn's atmosphere.

Contrast in the image was enhanced to aid the visibility of atmospheric features.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 20, 2005, at a distance of approximately 420,000 kilometers (261,000 miles) from Saturn using a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The image scale is 22 kilometers (13 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute