Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2014 August 6
Explanation: Acquiring its first sunlit views of far northern Saturn in late 2012, the Cassini spacecraft's wide-angle camera recorded this stunning, false-colour image of the ringed planet's north pole. The composite of near-infrared image data results in red hues for low clouds and green for high ones, giving the Saturnian cloudscape a vivid appearance. Enormous by terrestrial standards, Saturn's north polar hurricane-like storm is deep, red, and about 2,000 kilometres wide. Clouds at its outer edge travel at over 500 kilometres per hour. Other atmospheric vortices also swirl inside the large, yellowish green, six-sided jet stream known as the hexagon. Beyond the cloud tops at the upper right, arcs of the planet's eye-catching rings appear bright blue.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.