Saturn has a case of the blues. Captured by the Cassini spacecraft, the new true-color images of the gas giant’s northern latitudes are a vivid blue.
While clouds are seen in this image, the relatively cloud-free makeup of Saturn’s northern hemisphere may create the blue color. Gases in Saturn’s upper atmosphere scatter blue light rays, which gives the northern latitudes their azure appearance. Cassini mission scientists may examine why these latitudes are cloud-free.
The second view caught Saturn’s icy moon Mimas crossing in front of the planet. Heavily crated, Mimas looks like a dented golf ball orbiting the planet. The satellite’s largest crater, Herschel, can’t be seen in this view. As with the other image, Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the backdrop. Cassini’s narrow-angle camera images were obtained in January 2005 from a distance of approximately 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) from the ringed planet.