Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded

Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology

The Vortex


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)

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

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