NASA image: Saturn's vortex and rings

Jul 09, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft captures three magnificent sights at once: Saturn's north polar vortex and hexagon along with its expansive rings.

The hexagon, which is wider than two Earths, owes its appearance to the jet stream that forms its perimeter. The jet stream forms a six-lobed, stationary wave which wraps around the north polar regions at a latitude of roughly 77 degrees North.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 37 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 2, 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 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 43 . Image scale is 81 miles (131 kilometers) per pixel.

Explore further: Image: Saturn's rings and hexagonal polar storm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Saturn's rings and hexagonal polar storm

Feb 04, 2014

Just as Saturn's famous hexagonal shaped jet stream encircles the planet's north pole, the rings encircle the planet, as seen from Cassini's position high above. Around and around everything goes!

Image: Infrared image of Saturn's rings

Jan 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Although it may look to our eyes like other images of the rings, this infrared image of Saturn's rings was taken with a special filter that will only admit light polarized in one direction. ...

Saturn's north polar hexagon

Feb 26, 2013

(Phys.org)—Saturn's north polar hexagon basks in the Sun's light now that spring has come to the northern hemisphere. Many smaller storms dot the north polar region and Saturn's signature rings, which appear ...

Image: The unilluminated side of Saturn's rings

Apr 30, 2014

(Phys.org) —Saturn's rings cast shadows on the planet, but the shadows appear to be inside out! The edge of Saturn's outermost A ring can be seen at the top left corner of the image. Moving towards the ...

Image: Titan's sunlit edge

Dec 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —The sunlit edge of Titan's south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon's unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

14 hours ago

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

14 hours ago

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Biomarkers of the deep

16 hours ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

User comments : 0