Saturn's blue cranium
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: February 8, 2005
Saturn's northern hemisphere is presently a serene blue, more befitting of Uranus or Neptune, as seen in this natural color image from Cassini.
Shadows cast by the rings surround the pole, looking almost like dark atmospheric bands. The ring shadows at higher latitudes correspond to locations on the ringplane that are farther from the planet -- in other words, the northernmost ring shadow in this view is made by the outer edge of the A ring.
Spots of bright clouds also are visible throughout the region. This view is similar to an infrared image obtained by Cassini at nearly the same time. The infrared view shows a great deal more detail in the planet's atmosphere, however.
Images obtained using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera at a distance of 719,200 kilometers (446,900 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is about 39 kilometers (24 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.