When Cassini arrived in 2004, more of the northern hemisphere sported a bluish hue — it was northern winter. The golden tones dominated the southern hemisphere where it was southern summer. But as the seasons have turned and northern summer has begun, the colors have begun to change in each hemisphere, as well. Golden tones have started to dominate in the northern hemisphere, and the bluish color in the north is now confined to a tighter circle around the north pole.
Cassini is currently in a special set of tilted orbits known as “inclined orbits” that allow the spacecraft to swing up over the north pole and below the south pole. Cassini was tilted as much as 62° from the plane of Saturn’s equator in April of this year and will continue to work its way back down again until early 2015. Much of Cassini’s tour has involved orbits around the equatorial plane where most of Saturn’s rings and moons are located.