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The Maelstrom
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The Maelstrom

December 31, 2013
The vortex at Saturn's north pole -- seen here in the infrared -- takes on the menacing look of something from the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. But really, of course, it's just another example of the amazing, mesmerizing meteorology on Saturn. The eye of the immense cyclone is about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) wide, 20 times larger than most on Earth. For another view of the vortex, see Vortex in Psychedelic Color. This view is centered on clouds at 89 degrees north latitude, 109 degrees west longitude. North is up and rotated 33 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 14, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 750 nanometers.The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 45 degrees. Image scale is 3 miles (5 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute