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Detailed Cloud Features on Saturn.

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The southwest limb of Saturn. Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI.

This image of Saturn shows the giant planet's southwest edge, and a hint of thread-like cloud features. The edge of the planet looks smooth, but right at the terminator (the edge between light and dark), it's possible to see these cloud features. The long shadows make the height differences in the clouds visible. Cassini took this image on October 30, 2005 when the spacecraft was 401,000 kilometers (249,000 miles) from Saturn.

This brooding portrait shows the southwest limb (edge) of the cold gas giant and the thread-like cloud features lurking there. The limb appears smooth, but at the terminator (the boundary between light and dark) and at higher resolution, variations in cloud height can cause shadows that are visible to Cassini (see Such Great Heights).

The image was taken in visible, red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 30, 2005, at a distance of approximately 401,000 kilometers (249,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 155 degrees. Image scale is 20 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced to improve visibility of features in the atmosphere.

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, Colo.

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

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