RGB color-composite of Saturn from raw images acquired on Feb. 13, 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Jason Major)
Like some giant beast’s great blue eye Saturn’s north polar vortex appears to glare up at Cassini’s wide-angle camera in this image, a color-composite made from raw images acquired in red, green, and blue visible light wavelengths on February 13, 2017.
The vortex, an 1,800-mile-wide circular storm spinning around Saturn’s pole, lies at the center of an even larger structure: Saturn’s hexagon, a curiously geometric jet stream surrounding its north pole. Three sides of the hexagon can be seen above.
This isn’t the best view of Saturn’s vortex that Cassini has captured (that would be this) but it certainly highlights the striking color variations of the feature, which give us a look deep into Saturn’s violent atmosphere.
2013 image of Saturn’s north pole showing its north polar hexagonal jet stream and central vortex. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
Saturn’s hexagon is a particular favorite of mine, as it was featured in my very first blog post here on Lights in the Dark waaaaaay back on Feb. 12, 2009—just four days over eight years ago! Since that time more and more of Saturn’s pole has been illuminated as ...