Spacecraft snaps pic of Saturn in colors as the human eye would see it

Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:19 PM
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PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- During a high loop above Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft captured a dramatic image of Saturn and its rings in natural color, as humans would see them, NASA says.

This natural-color view, obtained Oct. 10, shows off the differently colored bands of weather above Saturn, including a bright, wavy stream of clouds that appears to mark some of the turbulent aftermath of a giant storm that reached its violent peak in early 2011, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported.

When Cassini arrived in 2004, Saturn's Northern Hemisphere sported a bluish hue as it was winter in that hemisphere.

But as the seasons have turned -- Saturn's "year" is about 30 Earth years long -- and northern summer has begun, the colors have begun to change, dominated by golden tones, astronomers said.

Cassini is currently in a tilted orbit that allows the spacecraft to swing up over the ringed planet's north pole and below the south pole.

That's a change, as much Cassini's tour has involved orbits around the equatorial plane where most of Saturn's rings and moons are located.

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