PIA21351: The North


The North

Caption:

Reflected sunlight is the source of the illumination for visible wavelength images such as the one above. However, at longer infrared wavelengths, direct thermal emission from objects dominates over reflected sunlight. This enabled instruments that can detect infrared radiation to observe the pole even in the dark days of winter when Cassini first arrived at Saturn and Saturn's northern hemisphere was shrouded in shadow.

Now, 13 years later, the north pole basks in full sunlight. Close to the northern summer solstice, sunlight illuminates the previously dark region, permitting Cassini scientists to study this area with the spacecraft's full suite of imagers.

This view looks toward the northern hemisphere from about 34 degrees above Saturn's ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 25, 2017 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 274,000 miles (441,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 111 degrees. Image scale is 16 miles (26 kilometers) per pixel.

Background Info:

The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. 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.

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

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Saturn Saturn Rings, Sun
System Saturn
Target Type Planet Ring, Sun
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Wide Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Grayscale, Infrared, Shadow, Wave
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2017-10-30
Date in Caption 2017-04-25
Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21351
Identifier PIA21351