Banded Wonder
30 May 2007
 

 

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

NASA recently published an awesome infrared image of Saturn, the ringed wonderful planet, acquired by the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. The image shows storms and bands of clouds in the planet's dynamic atmosphere.

Infrared light is capable of penetrating Saturn's obscuring atmospheric haze and revealing the banded pattern of the clouds. In visual light, Saturn's cloud bands are much less prominent than those of its twin, Jupiter, the largest planet. The spacecraft was looking on the illuminated side of Saturn's rings, from about 20° below the ringplane.

The image was taken with Cassini's wide-angle camera on 12 July 2005, at a distance of approximately 1.5 million km from Saturn. Images taken in infrared filters were combined to compose this monochromatic picture. Image scale is 170 km per pixel.

Further Reading

Cassini-Huygens Mission

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem

Senior Astronomy Specialist

  
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