Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

See other posts from November 2012

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

That amazing image of Saturn's north pole just got better: now, it moves!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

2012/11/28 11:27 CST

Topics: Cassini, pretty pictures, atmospheres, amateur image processing, Saturn, animation

Remember the amazing photo of Saturn's north pole that I posted yesterday? Now, thanks to an amateur image processor, it moves, and the motions of the individual clouds within the belts are mesmerizing. Check it out. You may need to wait a bit for all 14 frames to load, but once they do, you'll see a smooth animation. Watch those storms shear and whirl. Some of the apparent cloud motion is not real -- it's due to Cassini's changing perspective -- but most of it is real effects of the differential motions of currents and clouds in Saturn's dynamic atmosphere.

Saturn's north polar vortex (an animation)

NASA / JPL / SSI / Kevin McAbee

Saturn's north polar vortex (an animation)
Cassini took 14 images of Saturn's north polar vortex on November 27, 2012 over a period of many hours as the planet rotated beneath it. The 14 images have been processed to remove the geometric effects of Cassini's oblique viewpoint and of Saturn's rotation, holding the outer bright ring of white clouds fixed. With these motions removed, you can see individual vortices rotating and shearing, and the central clouds rotating faster than the outer ones.

This is something I attempted to produce myself last night, but I could not make it work. I said as much on unmannedspaceflight.com and a newbie there, Kevin McAbee, came to my rescue with this amazing animation. (Clearly he's not a newbie to image processing.) He even shared a couple of intermediate stages so that you can see what he started with. Spectacular work!

Saturn's north polar vortex (animation) - original frames

NASA / JPL / SSI / Kevin McAbee

Saturn's north polar vortex (animation) - original frames
Saturn's north polar vortex (animation) - aligned

NASA / JPL / SSI / Kevin McAbee

Saturn's north polar vortex (animation) - aligned
 

Or read more blog entries about: Cassini, pretty pictures, atmospheres, amateur image processing, Saturn, animation

Comments:

Joseph Moran: 11/29/2012 10:22 CST

See also this YouTube sequence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84MsvY3f6zU Just a matter of time before someone reprojects and smoothly interpolates the frames to simulate FMV. That will be fun. ^_^

Kit Farman: 11/29/2012 02:52 CST

I like to think that Saturn is really that wobbly.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Zodiacal light at the Moon from LADEE

Spitzer Space Telescope
Philae CIVA portrait of Rosetta's solar panels, April 14, 2014
Kepler-186f: A Second Earth
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Fly to an Asteroid!

Travel to Bennu on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

Send your name

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!