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Saturn's South Pole.

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Saturn’s polar region.
Saturn’s southern polar region.

This photo of Saturn's southern pole was taken by Cassini on July 13, when the spacecraft was 5 million km (3.1 million miles) away. It was taken with the spacecraft's narrow angle camera using a filter sensitive to Infrared light, and shows the concentric rings of clouds which circle a dark spot at the planet's south pole. As you move north, the clouds have wavy edges of turbulence as the edges of the bands interact with each other.

Saturn’s southern polar region exhibits concentric rings of cloud which encircle a dark spot at the pole. To the north, wavy patterns are evident, resulting from the atmosphere moving with different speeds at different latitudes.

The image was taken with the narrow angle camera on July 13, 2004, from a distance of 5 million kilometers (3.1 million miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of Infrared light centered at 889 nanometers. The image scale is 29 kilometers (18 miles) per pixel. Contrast has been enhanced slightly to aid visibility.

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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

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