Through the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere of Saturn rolls a large storm, seen here as a tight dark circle in the lower left of this image.
Horizontal strands of other atmospheric formations give the image the fibrous look of travertine stone. Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) is a small dark dot in the top right part of the image.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 30, 2008 using a combination of polarized and spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (750,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 27 degrees. Image scale is 68 kilometers (42 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