The latitude bands and swirling storms of Saturn, always intriguing to scientists, often are exquisitely beautiful as well. The turbulent atmosphere is dotted with storms; most are small, but some are much larger. The dark center of the dramatic beauty swirling near the south pole is easily 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) across.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 31, 2005, using a filter sensitive to wavelengths of polarized infrared light centered at 752 nanometers at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 78 kilometers (48 miles) per pixel.
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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. For additional images visit the Cassini imaging team homepage http://ciclops.org.