Saturn in Infrared from Cassini | NASA

Saturn in Infrared from Cassini

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SSI.

Saturn in Infrared from Cassini



Many details of Saturn appear clearly in infrared light. Bands of clouds show great structure, including long stretching storms. Also quite striking in infrared is the unusual hexagonal cloud pattern surrounding Saturn’s the North Pole. Each side of the dark hexagon spans roughly the width of our Earth. The hexagon’s existence was not predicted, and its origin and likely stability remain a topic of research. Saturn’s famous rings circle the planet and cast shadows below the equator. The featured image was taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in 2014 in several infrared colors — but only processed recently. In September, Cassini’s mission will be brought to a dramatic conclusion as the spacecraft will be directed to dive into the ringed giant.
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