Saturn's cloud patterns

Photojournal: PIA18280

September 29, 2014

Saturn's many cloud patterns, swept along by high-speed winds, look as if they were painted on by some eager alien artist.

With no real surface features to slow them down, wind speeds on Saturn can top 1,100 mph (1,800 kph), more than four times the top speeds on Earth.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 29 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 4, 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 68 miles (109 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, 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://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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