ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded


Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology
Life, Unbounded Home

The Vortex


Email   PrintPrint



This is simply too good to pass up, although it’s been doing the rounds online. As the seasons change on Saturn the north polar region is now getting its share of faint solar illumination. Cassini recently (very recently, as in Nov 27th) took this amazing image of the swirling atmospheric circulation at the northern pole of the gas giant planet. This is the raw data, and for some sense of scale – this is the view from 225,000 miles away. Although not explicitly stated on the Cassini pages I suspect these images were made using one of the infrared filters.

Raw image of Saturn's north pole, as sunlight begins to illuminate the cloud tops (NASA/Cassini)

And another for good measure, from a different angle and slightly further away.

Northern polar view (NASA/Cassini)

Caleb A. Scharf About the Author: Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's multidisciplinary Astrobiology Center. He has worked in the fields of observational cosmology, X-ray astronomy, and more recently exoplanetary science. His latest book is 'Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos', and he is working on 'The Copernicus Complex' (both from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) Follow on Twitter @caleb_scharf.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.



Previous: Mars Tinted Goggles More
Life, Unbounded
Next: The Calculus of Love




Rights & Permissions

Add Comment

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X