Saturn's Oil Drop Surface Looks Incredible Through an Infrared Lens

By George Dvorsky on at

Most of the photos taken of Saturn these days are in drab black and white. But this infrared view of Saturn from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is a stunning reminder of this ringed planet’s spectral vibrance.

This false-coloured image of Saturn was produced by Kevin M. Gill who, in addition to serving as an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is an amateur space imaging enthusiast.

Saturn's Oil Drop Surface Looks Incredible Through an Infrared Lens
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Kevin M. Gill

The photo was captured by Cassini’s wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, which is capable of capturing infrared light at 750, 727, and 619 nanometres. In plain English, it’s a visual spectrum that helps scientists measure the depth and structure of Saturn’s cloud structure, while also showing us how this gas giant absorbs and scatters sunlight in its methane rich atmosphere, among other phenomena. [NASA]