Saturn's bright equatorial band displays an exquisite swirl near the planet's eastern limb. This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft's narrow angle camera on May 18, 2004, from a distance of 23.4 million kilometers (14.5 million miles) from Saturn. The camera used a filter sensitive to absorption and scattering of sunlight by methane gas in the infrared (centered at 889 nanometers). The image scale is 139 kilometers (86 miles) per pixel. No contrast enhancement has been performed on this image.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, 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.
For more information, about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.