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31 Oct, 2017 03:11

NASA snaps stunning view of ‘Saturn’s hexagon’ at its north pole (PHOTO)

NASA snaps stunning view of ‘Saturn’s hexagon’ at its north pole (PHOTO)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured an awesome image of Saturn’s northern hemisphere in full sunlight, revealing the planet’s hexagonal storm clouds.

Cassini had been waiting 13 years to catch Saturn’s north pole illuminated in all its glory as it neared the summer solstice. When the spacecraft first arrived in 2004, Saturn’s northern hemisphere was shrouded in shadow.

Now, scientists can study the area with spacecraft’s full arsenal of imagers, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, one of which captured Saturn’s visible wavelengths (like in the image below).

The extraordinary view was taken about 34 degrees above Saturn’s ring plane, approximately 274,000 miles (441,000 km) above Saturn.

Cassini’s wide-angle camera took the mesmerizing shot on April 25, 2017, using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light.

Cassini ended its mission on September 15 by plunging into Saturn in a fiery finale.

READ MORE: Postcards from the edge: Cassini’s final images before smashing into Saturn