Cassini Views Saturn’s Hexagonal Shaped Jet Stream

February 4, 2014

Space

Image of Saturns Hexagonal Shaped Jet Stream

This newly released image from the Cassini spacecraft shows Saturn’s hexagonal shaped jet stream.

Just as Saturn’s famous hexagonal shaped jet stream encircles the planet’s north pole, the rings encircle the planet, as seen from Cassini’s position high above. Around and around everything goes!

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 43 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on November 23, 2013 using a spectral filter that preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 97 degrees. Image scale is 93 miles (150 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Saturns Hexagonal Shaped Jet Stream

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

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute; NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University

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2 Responses to “Cassini Views Saturn’s Hexagonal Shaped Jet Stream”

  1. Amir Zaidi Says:

    Is this even remotely understood in terms of a fluid dynamics model or some concrete physical theory?

    Reply

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