This Week from Cassini: February 22 – March 1

On February 22 Cassini’s camera system, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) made a distant observation of Titan. This was two days after Cassini began a new orbit around Saturn — its 182nd orbit! ISS observed Titan for 11 hours to monitor clouds across its southern trailing and sub-Saturn hemispheres.

The image below is an RGB color composite taken by ISS during this observation in three filters: red, green, and blue. These images were received on Earth February 23, 2013.

Distant Titan Observation, Credit:
Distant Titan Observation, Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / composite by Val Klavans

On February 25 Cassini took a peek at Enceladus. ISS captured some narrow shots of Enceladus focusing in on its south polar jets of water ice particles, as well as wider shots of the moon orbiting in Saturn’s E ring. It is suspected that Enceladus’ jets of water ice particles are actually main source of particles for Saturn’s E ring! (Read more about that here.)

Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / montage by Val Klavans
Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / montage by Val Klavans

Click on these links to see the full images from the montage above: Wide Image – Saturn’s E Ring & Narrow Image – Enceladus’ Jets.

On February 26 Cassini imaged Saturn’s north polar region, focusing in on its hexagon and clouds in its upper atmosphere. The composite below was taken by ISS in red, green, and blue filters. You can see Saturn’s rings in the top of this image as well as its mysterious hexagon. If you would like to learn more about Saturn’s hexagon check out these interesting links: Saturn’s north pole hexagonal cloud patternSaturn’s Strange Hexagon Recreated in the Lab

Saturn's Hexagon orig
Saturn’s Hexagon, Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / Val Klavans

 

On February 27, Cassini’s cameras captured Saturn again at a variety of lattitudes in order to track clouds as they move across the planet. ISS snapped some great shots of Saturn’s hexagon (this time from a greater distance),

NASA / JPL / SSI
NASA / JPL / SSI

the magnificent rings,

NASA / JPL / SSI
NASA / JPL / SSI

and its atmosphere bending the image of the rings (due to refraction).

NASA / JPL / SSI
NASA / JPL / SSI

I couldn’t include all the awesome images Cassini took of Saturn in the past few days (there are SO many) so check them out right here.

Get excited for more action from Cassini! The spacecraft begins its next orbit around Saturn on March 4… just a few days away!

Sources

Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS (CICLOPS) Rev182: Feb 20 – Mar 4 ’13 (“Rev” refers to Cassini’s revolution or orbit around Saturn)

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