Titan’s Polar Vortex

Titan's Polar Vortex from Cassini.  Click for larger. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Titan’s Polar Vortex from Cassini. Click for larger. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

It is probably just me but that vortex always looks like it sticks out a little, like a 3-D effect. Nice picture though.

BTW: There is a nice image of the Kliuchevskoi Volcano taken from the ISS on the wallpaper link above.  Looks quite nice on my desktops.

The JPL caption released with the image:

The sunlit edge of Titan’s south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude — where sunlight can still reach — than the surrounding haze.

Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across) is Saturn’s largest moon. For a color image of the south polar vortex on Titan, see PIA14919. For a movie of the vortex, see PIA14920.


This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Titan. North on Titan is up and rotated 32 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 14, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 808,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 82 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (8 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, Washington, D.C. 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, Colo.

3 thoughts on “Titan’s Polar Vortex

  1. Nice shot! And it’s not just you: the light and shadow around the vortex give the illusion of rising from the background.

    Cassini has been of the great space success stories.

    • Well, it reminds me of a belly button. This photo is definitely an outty and not an inney . Yes ,I know my astronomy professor would cringe at the very thought or such a blatant disregard of the discipline of science. But it does look like a protruding belly button to me. Life is too short so we gotta have fun while we can !

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