Swirls in the South

Black and white image of one-quarter of Saturn showing swirling cloud formations.
January 21, 2005
PIA NumberPIA06568
  • english

The turbulent boundaries between dark belts and bright zones are seen prominently in this processed image of Saturn's southern atmosphere. Disturbed boundaries between these cloud bands are due to wind shear and density differences between adjacent bands.

The planet appears more bland in natural color images, but this infrared view uncovers far more detail.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on Dec. 14, 2004, at a distance of approximately 614,000 kilometers (382,000 miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 890 nanometers. The image scale is 37 kilometers (23 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . For images visit the Cassini imaging team home page http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute