Cassini Sees Saturn and Moons in Holiday Dress

This holiday season, feast your eyes on images of Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, in a care package from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. All three bodies are dressed and dazzling in this special package assembled by Cassini’s imaging team.

The new images are available online at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini, and http://ciclops.org.

The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn’s northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

“During this, our 10th holiday season at Saturn, we hope that these images from Cassini remind everyone the world over of the significance of our discoveries in exploring such a remote and beautiful planetary system,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader, based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. “Happy holidays from all of us on Cassini.”

Saturn's largest and second largest moons, Titan and Rhea, appear to be stacked on top of each other in this true-color scene from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Saturn’s largest and second largest moons, Titan and Rhea, appear to be stacked on top of each other in this true-color scene from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Two views of Enceladus are included in the package and highlight the many fissures, fractures and ridges that decorate the icy moon’s surface. Packaged along with Saturn and Enceladus is a group of natural-color images of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, highlighting two of Titan’s most outstanding features. But the planet that towers over these moons is a celestial wonder itself. The north and south poles of Saturn are highlighted and appear drastically different from each other, as seen in new natural-color views. The globe of Saturn resembles a holiday ornament in a wide-angle image overlooking its north pole, bringing into view the hexagonal jet stream and rapidly spinning polar vortex that reside there. And the planet’s south pole, now in winter, looking very different than the springtime north, displays brilliant blue hues, reminiscent of a frosty winter wonderland.

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