Serene scene on Saturn

Date:31 May 2012 Tags:, ,

Even in a peaceful looking scene such as this one of Saturn and its moon Tethys, the Cassini spacecraft reveals clues about how Saturn is ever-changing. Saturn’s northern hemisphere still shows the scars of the huge storm that raged through much of 2011 (see PIA14905). And, day by day, the shadows cast by the rings on the planet’s southern hemisphere are growing wider as the seasons progress toward northern summer. See PIA11667 and PIA09793 to learn about the changing seasons and the shadows cast by the rings.

Tethys (1 062 kilometres across) appears above the rings to the left of the centre of the image.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on 10 January 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centred at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2,3 million kilometres from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 39 degrees. Image scale on Saturn is 136 kilometres per pixel.

Image credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute