PIA10558: A Blue Northern Mystery
Target Name: Saturn
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Cassini-Huygens
Spacecraft: Cassini Orbiter
Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem - Wide Angle
Product Size: 1007 x 752 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Cassini Imaging Team
Full-Res TIFF: PIA10558.tif (2.275 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA10558.jpg (35.36 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

Saturn's north pole retains its bluish hue in this true color Cassini image, even as northern winter is coming to an end.

The azure blue of Saturn's winter hemisphere during the early Cassini prime mission still remains a puzzle. Over the course of time, the blue color has faded and has been replaced with bands of other hues (see PIA11141).

The north pole is in shadow here, but a portion of its oscillating hexagonal pattern is visible. Storms create the look of a pockmarked surface.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 29, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.098 million kilometers (683,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 38 degrees. Image scale is 62 kilometers (39 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/. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image Addition Date:
2009-01-16