This mosaic combines 137 images captured by Cassini’s wide-angle camera as it made the first dive of the mission’s Grand Finale on 26 April 2017. It shows a vast swath of Saturn’s atmosphere, from the north polar vortex to the boundary of the hexagon-shaped jet stream, to details in bands and swirls at middle latitudes and beyond.
During the dive, the altitude above the clouds changed from 72 400 to 8374 km, while the image scale changed from 8.7 km/pixel to 1 km/pixel.
The bottom of the mosaic is curved, where Cassini rotated to point its high-gain antenna in the direction of motion as a protective measure before crossing Saturn’s ring plane. Imaging scientists refer to this long, narrow mosaic as a “noodle” in planning the image sequence.
More about this image, including video.
More science highlights in Saturn surprises as Cassini continues its grand finale