Saturn's southern polar region exhibits concentric rings of clouds which encircle a dark spot at the pole. To the north and toward the right, wavy patterns are evident, resulting from the atmosphere moving with different speeds at different latitudes.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on July 13, 2004, from a distance of 5 million kilometers (3.1 million miles) from Saturn, through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 889 nanometers. The image scale is 29 kilometers (18 miles) per pixel. Contrast has been enhanced slightly to aid visibility.
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.