August 6, 2012
The Cassini spacecraft monitors Titan's developing south polar vortex, which is a mass of swirling gas around the pole in the atmosphere of the moon.
The vortex can be seen at the bottom of this view. See Titan's Colorful South Polar Vortex to learn more and Titan's South Polar Vortex in Motion (Video) to watch a short movie of the swirling mass. The moon's northern hood is also visible at the top of this view. See Haze Layers on Titan and Above Titan's North to learn more about the hood.
This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Titan (3,200 miles, 5,150 kilometers across). North is up and rotated 14 degrees to the left.
The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 18, 2012. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.9 million miles (3 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Scale in the original image was 11 miles (18 kilometers) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of 1.5 to enhance the visibility of features.
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-Caltech/Space Science Institute