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About Saturn & Its Moons

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Saturn - Science Objectives

In Saturn's Shadow (Color-exaggerated view)
Dazzling Saturn seen from the darkness of a total solar eclipse.
Cassini's Equinox Mission science objectives for Saturn are listed below.

Objectives related to seasonal change in the Saturn System:

  • Observe seasonal variations in temperature, clouds, and composition in three spatial dimensions.


  • Observe seasonal changes in winds at all accessible altitudes coupled with simultaneous observations of clouds, temperatures, composition and lightning.


  • Observe the magnetosphere, ionosphere and auroras as they change on all time scales - minutes to years - and are affected by seasonal and solar cycle forcing.


Objectives related to new questions raised during Cassini’s primary mission:

  • Determine Saturn's rotation rate and internal structure despite the planet's unexpected high degree of axisymmetry.


  • Study the life cycles of Saturn's newly discovered atmospheric waves, south polar hurricane and newly rediscovered north polar hexagon.


  • Measure the spatial and temporal variability of trace gases and isotopes.


  • Observe Saturn's newly discovered lightning storms