This spectacular image of Saturn's clouds looks obliquely across the high northern latitudes. The Sun is low on the horizon here, making the vertical extent of the clouds easier to see. Cloud bands surrounding the vortex at lower left rise above their surroundings, casting shadows toward the bottom of the image.
Some motion blur is apparent in this view.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 938 nanometers on Oct. 30, 2006. Cassini was then at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 142 degrees. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 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/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.