Enter the Vortex ... in Psychedelic Color
This spectacular, vertigo inducing, false-color image from NASA's Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn's north pole. The angry eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green. Low-lying clouds circling inside the hexagonal feature appear as muted orange color. A second, smaller vortex pops out in teal at the lower right of the image. The rings of Saturn appear in vivid blue at the top right.
The images were taken with Cassini's wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nm are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nm are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nm are projected as red. At Saturn, this scheme means colors correlate to different altitudes in the planet's polar atmosphere: red indicates deep, while green shows clouds that are higher in altitude. High clouds are typically associated with locations of intense upwelling in a storm. These images help scientists learn the distribution and frequencies of such storms. The rings are bright blue in this color scheme because there is no methane gas between the ring particles and the camera.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 419,000 km (261,000 miles) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 94 degrees. Image scale is 22 km (13 miles) per pixel.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute