Saturn in Infrared from Cassini

APOD: 2022 July 24 - Saturn in Infrared from Cassini

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 July 24
The featured image shows Saturn in infrared light as 
captured by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft in 2014. 
Easily visible are many cloud bands, rings, and the hexagonal
cloud pattern surrounding Saturn's north pole. 
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Saturn in Infrared from Cassini
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SSI; Processing: Maksim Kakitsev

Explanation: Many details of Saturn appear clearly in infrared light. Bands of clouds show great structure, including long stretching storms. Also quite striking in infrared is the unusual hexagonal cloud pattern surrounding Saturn's North Pole. Each side of the dark hexagon spans roughly the width of our Earth. The hexagon's existence was not predicted, and its origin and likely stability remains a topic of research. Saturn's famous rings circle the planet and cast shadows below the equator. The featured image was taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in 2014 in several infrared colors. In 2017 September, the Cassini mission was brought to a dramatic conclusion when the spacecraft was directed to dive into ringed giant.

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