"When you look at Saturn through any telescope, all you can see is Saturn's day side and the sunlit part of its rings," says Dr. Linda Spilker, deputy project scientist for the Cassini-Huygens mission. "With the Cassini spacecraft we can see the whole planet, including the night side. We can see the rings. We can get close enough to see things like tiny storms that even the powerful telescopes can't see. We can collect data and make measurements that can only be done by actually going to Saturn."
The orbiter's up-close perspective has led to new discoveries about Saturn's dynamic atmosphere and its internal structure. For example, Cassini has revealed that each of the planet’s poles possesses a monstrous vortex where heat from the interior powers giant thunderstorms. Further observations are planned during the Cassini Equinox Mission to see how these vortices evolve as the seasons change on Saturn.
Many exciting mysteries remain for scientists to investigate at the ringed planet during the remainder of Cassini's voyage.