Bright equatorial clouds give way to darker southern bands in this infrared Cassini spacecraft view taken with a filter sensitive to methane absorption in Saturn's atmosphere.
Delicate shadows cast onto the planet by its inner rings are visible at upper right. A portion of the same inner rings are seen at lower right.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized infrared light. The view was acquired on Jan. 14, 2007 at a distance of approximately 976,000 kilometers (606,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 55 kilometers (34 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 .
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute