December 23, 2013
Slipping into shadow, the south polar vortex at Saturn's moon Titan still stands out against the orange and blue haze layers that are characteristic of Titan's atmosphere. Images like this, from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, lead scientists to conclude that the polar vortex clouds form at a much higher altitude - where sunlight can still reach – than the lower-altitude surrounding haze.
This view looks towards the trailing hemisphere of Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across). North on Titan is up and rotated 17 degrees to the left. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural-color view. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 30, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 895,000 miles (1.441 million kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 5 miles (9 kilometers) 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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute