Watching for Clouds

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The Cassini spacecraft peeks through the murk of Titan's thick atmosphere in a search for clouds.

Although there are no obvious cloud features in this view, bright cloud streaks have occasionally been seen by Cassini and Earth-based telescopes in the region seen here toward the bottom of Titan's disk. Repeated monitoring observations like this one help scientists build an understanding of Titan's weather and the various climate processes operating on this frigid, but remarkably Earth-like moon.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles across). North is up and rotated 35 degrees to the left.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 25, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 938 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Titan. Image scale is 10 kilometers (6 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