May 17, 2006
This comparison view shows a common, large vortex on Saturn as it plows through the atmosphere. The right image was taken about two Saturn rotations -- about 20 hours -- after the left image.
Such storms can be quite long-lived on gas planets like Saturn, where there are no land masses to slow down storms and dissipate their energy.
Both images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The left image was taken on April 15, 2006, at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The right image was taken on April 16, 2006, at a distance of approximately 3.8 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 22 kilometers (14 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