Saturnian Storms About to Merge

Saturnian storms swirling in the region “storm alley”. Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI Click to enlarge
Two Saturnian storms swirl in the region informally dubbed “storm alley” by scientists. This mid-latitude region has been active with storms since Cassini scientists began monitoring Saturn in early 2004.

The large storm at left is at least 2,500 kilometers (1,600 miles) across from north to south. This is bigger than typical storms in the region, which are the size of large Earth hurricanes, or about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) across. To the left, the smaller storm is about 700 kilometers (400 miles) across.

The two storms are interacting. Their threadlike arms are intertwined, and they might have merged a few days after this image was taken. See PIA06082 and PIA06083 for movies of storm activity in this region.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 9, 2005, at a distance of approximately 3.2 million kilometers (2 million miles) from Saturn. The image was obtained using a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 727 nanometers. The image scale is 38 kilometers (23 miles) 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Original Source: NASA/JPL/SSI News Release