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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Full View: Saturn's Streaming Hexagon 12-05

 
In Full View: Saturn's Streaming Hexagon - This colorful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon." This movie, made from images obtained by Cassini's imaging cameras, is the first to show the hexagon in color filters, and the first movie to show a complete view from the north pole down to about 70 degrees north latitude.

This movie shows a view from directly over the north pole, keeping up with the rotation of the planet so that all the motion seen on the screen is the motion of the hexagonal jet stream or the storms inside of it, without any added motion from the spinning of the planet itself. The original images were re-projected to show this polar view.

High-resolution views of the hexagon have only recently become possible because of the changing of the seasons at Saturn and changes in the Cassini spacecraft’s orbit. The north pole was dark when Cassini first arrived in July 2004. The sun really only began to illuminate the entire interior of the hexagon in August 2009, with the start of northern spring.  In late 2012, Cassini began making swings over Saturn's poles, giving it better views of the hexagon.



Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton

 
#nasa #space #solarsystem #saturn #cassini #filters #spacecract