Blue Saturn

Light rays here travel a much longer path through the relatively cloud-free upper atmosphere. Along this path, shorter wavelength blue light rays are scattered effectively by gases in the atmosphere, and it is this scattered light that gives the region its blue character. Why the upper atmosphere is the northern hemisphere is so cloud-free is not known, but may be related to colder temperatures brought on by the ring shadows cast there.

Saturn’s famous rings cast the dark shadows stretching across the frame with infamous cratered moon Mimas drifting along in its orbit. The ring shadows at higher latitudes correspond to locations on the ringplane that are farther from the planet.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


Posted 10 months ago with 574 notes
Tagged:saturnblueAstronomyscienceCassiniNASAspaceplanetmimas

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