As Cassini closes in on Saturn, its view is growing sharper with time and
now reveals new atmospheric features in the planet's southern hemisphere.
Atmospheric features, such as two small, faint dark spots, visible in the
planet's southern hemisphere, will become clearer in the coming months.
The spots are located at 38 degrees south latitude.
The spacecraft's narrow angle camera took several exposures on March 8,
2004, which have been combined to create this natural color image. The
image contrast and colors have been slightly enhanced to aid visibility.
Moons visible in the lower half of this image are: Mimas (398 kilometers,
or 247 miles across) at left, just below the rings; Dione (1,118
kilometers, or 695 miles across) at left, below Mimas; and Enceladus
(499 kilometers, 310 miles across) at right. The moons had their
brightness enhanced to aid visibility.
The spacecraft was then 56.4 million kilometers (35 million miles) from
Saturn, or slightly more than one-third of the distance from Earth to
the Sun. The image scale is approximately 338 kilometers (210 miles)
per pixel. The planet is 23 percent larger in this image than it appeared
in the preceding color image, taken four weeks earlier.
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 Cassini mission for NASA's Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute,
For more information, about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org