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The Dragon Storm
The Dragon Storm (click to enlarge)
 
 

The Dragon Storm
Date: 15 Sep 2004

A large, bright and complex convective storm that appeared in Saturn's southern hemisphere in mid-September 2004 was the key in solving a long-standing mystery about the ringed planet.



Saturn's atmosphere and its rings are shown here in a false color composite made from Cassini images taken in near infrared light through filters that sense different amounts of methane gas. Portions of the atmosphere with a large abundance of methane above the clouds are red, indicating clouds that are deep in the atmosphere. Grey indicates high clouds, and brown indicates clouds at intermediate altitudes. The rings are bright blue because there is no methane gas between the ring particles and the camera.


The complex feature with arms and secondary extensions just above and to the right of center is called the Dragon Storm. It lies in a region of the southern hemisphere referred to as "storm alley" by imaging scientists because of the high level of storm activity observed there by Cassini in the last year.


For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. For images visit the Cassini imaging team home page http://ciclops.org.


Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute



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