Saturn's upper atmosphere

Photojournal: PIA09734

September 24, 2007

The Cassini spacecraft has a peek beneath the hazes in Saturn's upper atmosphere at the swirling vortices that lurk below.

Many vortices can be seen in this image, varying in size from small to large. The largest one in this image exhibits a collar of bright clouds surrounding the central dark core.

The view is centered on a region 46 degrees south of the planet's equator.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 12, 2007 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 4.1 million kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 24 kilometers (15 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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