The Colors of Saturn’s Northern Skies

Color-composite of Cassini images acquired on 26 Feb. 2013 (NASA/JPL/SSI/J. Major)
Color-composite of Cassini images acquired on 27 Feb. 2013 (NASA/JPL/SSI/J. Major)

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…

Saturn's Northern Colors 2


  1. susanai says:

    I think Saturn is the most beautiful planet after the Earth.


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