Image of the Day: Saturn’s North Polar Hexagon, Close Up

A six-sided vortex dominates Saturn’s north pole
Images • Views: 33,795
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute • Click to enlarge

Saturn’s North Polar Hexagon

Saturn’s north polar hexagon basks in the Sun’s light now that spring has come to the northern hemisphere. Many smaller storms dot the north polar region and Saturn’s signature rings, which appear to disappear on account of Saturn’s shadow, put in an appearance in the background.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 750 nanometers.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 403,000 miles (649,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 21 degrees. Image scale is 22 miles (35 kilometers) per pixel.

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