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Psychedelic Saturn
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Psychedelic Saturn

April 23, 2006

Streamers, swirls and vortices roll across the dynamic face of Saturn.

Unlike Earth, where most of the weather is driven by the Sun, Saturn's storms and circulation are driven in part by internal heating. Amazingly, the planet is still contracting (ever so slightly) from its formation, more than 4.5 billion years ago. This gravitational contraction liberates energy in the form of heat.

The image was taken in polarized infrared light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 7, 2006, at a distance of approximately 2.9 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 17 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel.



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