The Colors of Saturn’s Northern Skies
Bored by blue? Saturn’s skies sure do have a lot more colors, as seen here in a color-somposite made from raw Cassini images acquired on Feb. 27, 2013.
With spring progressing on Saturn’s northern hemisphere (a season that takes 7 1/2 Earth years to pass!) the upper latitudes gradually receive more sunlight and thus more solar energy, warming the planet’s atmosphere and driving the upper-level winds and storms.
Different colors correspond to different compositions of the clouds in Saturn’s atmosphere, which at the highest altitudes are made of stuff like methane, ammonia and sulfur — although the bulk of Saturn is composed of hydrogen and helium.
Storms — the tops of which can be seen here as bright streaks and ovals — can dredge up material from deeper in Saturn’s atmosphere, making circles and rings of varying colors.
See one of the original raw images here.
ADDED 2/28: here’s one more…