Saturn's hexagon

Photojournal: PIA18287

October 6, 2014

Nature is often more complex and wonderful than it first appears. For example, although it looks like a simple hexagon, this feature surrounding Saturn's north pole is really a manifestation of a meandering polar jet stream.

For more on the hexagon, see Spring Reveals Saturn's Hexagon Jet Stream.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 24, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 605,000 miles (973,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 19 degrees. Image scale is 36 miles (58 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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