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Saturn's polar vortex imaged by Cassini spacecraft
JPL PRESS RELEASE
Posted: 3 December 2012


NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been traveling the Saturnian system in a set of inclined, or tilted, orbits that give mission scientists a vertigo-inducing view of Saturn's polar regions. This perspective has yielded images of roiling storm clouds and a swirling vortex at the center of Saturn's famed north polar hexagon.

These phenomena mimic what Cassini found at Saturn's south pole a number of years ago. Cassini has also seen storms circling Saturn's north pole in the past, but only in infrared wavelengths because the north pole was in darkness. But, with the change of the Saturnian seasons, the sun has begun to creep over the planet's north pole.

This particular set of raw, unprocessed images was taken on Nov. 27, 2012, from a distance of about 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) from Saturn.


This image from NASA's Cassini mission was taken on Nov. 27, 2012, with Cassini's narrow-angle camera. The camera was pointing toward Saturn from approximately 224,618 miles (361,488 kilometers) away. This image has not been validated or calibrated. View a higher resolution version of this image. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
 


This image from NASA's Cassini mission was taken on Nov. 27, 2012, with Cassini's narrow-angle imaging camera. The camera was pointing toward Saturn from approximately 248,578 miles (400,048 kilometers) away. This image has not been validated or calibrated. View a higher resolution version of this image. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
 


This image from NASA's Cassini mission was taken on Nov. 27, 2012, with Cassini's wide-angle imaging camera. The camera was pointing toward Saturn from approximately 233,742 miles (376,171 kilometers) away. This image has not been validated or calibrated. . View a higher resolution version of this image. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
 

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