Clouds on Saturn take on the appearance of strokes from a cosmic brush thanks to the wavy way that fluids interact in the planet's atmosphere.
Neighboring bands of clouds move at different speeds and directions depending on their latitudes. This generates turbulence where bands meet and leads to the wavy structure along the interfaces. Saturn’s upper atmosphere generates the faint haze seen along the limb of the planet in this image. Now 20 years since launching from Earth, and after 13 years orbiting the ringed planet and its moons, our Cassini mission prepares for its ‘Grand Finale’ on September 15, when the mission will end with a purposeful plunge into Saturn this year in order to protect and preserve the planet's moons for future exploration – especially the potentially habitable Enceladus.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
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