icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

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

Podcasts