These tantalizing panoramas follow a remarkable
giant storm encircling
the northern hemisphere of
ringed planet Saturn.
Still active, the
roiling storm clouds were captured in
near-infrared images recorded by the Cassini spacecraft
on February 26 and stitched into
the high resolution, false-color mosaics.
late last year as a prominent bright spot
by amateur astronomers as Saturn rose
in predawn skies, the powerful storm
to enormous proportions.
Its north-south extent is nearly 15,000 kilometers as
it now stretches completely around the
gas giant's northern hemisphere some 300,000 kilometers,
about one Saturn day (11 hours) apart, the panoramas show the head
of the storm at the left and cover about 150 degrees in longitude.
Also a source of
radio noise from lightning,
the intense storm may be related to seasonal changes as Saturn
experiences northern hemisphere spring.
Cassini Imaging Team,