Titan's swirling south-polar vortex stands out brightly against the other clouds of the south pole (seen at the lower right of the image). The Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the development of the south polar vortex to help understand seasonal changes on Saturn's largest moon.
For a color image of the south polar vortex on Titan, see Titan's Colorful South Polar Vortex. For a movie of the vortex, see Titan's South Polar Vortex in Motion.
This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across). North on Titan is up and rotated 9 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 31, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 74 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel.
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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Full-Res: PIA14634