This infrared view looks toward middle to high northern latitudes on Saturn, revealing entrancing meanders in the clouds. The cloud patterns transition from puffier looking in the south -- possibly a region of shear -- to smoother oval shapes in the north.
Cassini's view of high latitudes will improve beginning in late July 2006 as the spacecraft's orbit leaves the ringplane and is cranked up to higher inclinations.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 939 nanometers. The view was obtained on June 30, 2006 at a distance of approximately 336,000 kilometers (209,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 16 kilometers (10 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute