Beneath the Haze
August 11, 2008
Swirling clouds drift like phantoms in Saturn's murky depths.
The camera filter used for this image captures light at wavelengths where atmospheric gases like methane are fairly transparent, allowing for detailed views of deep cloud features.
Other filters (see High Cloud, Low Cloud) use light that is strongly absorbed by methane gas; the light bounces off the high clouds, making them visible, but gets absorbed before it reaches the low clouds. The use of such filters allows Cassini's cameras to probe Saturn's atmosphere at different depths.
The view looks toward a region 22 degrees north of Saturn's equator. North is up.The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 20, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (774,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute