This turbulent boundary between two latitudinal bands in Saturn's atmosphere curls repeatedly along its edge in this Cassini image. This pattern is an example of a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, which occurs when two fluids of different density flow past each other at different speeds.
This type of phenomenon should be fairly common on the gas-giant planets given their alternating jets and the different temperatures in their belts and zones.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 9, 2004, at a distance of 5.9 million kilometers (3.7 million miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 889 nanometers. The image scale is 69 kilometers (43 miles) per pixel.
Cassini at JPL
Cassini Image Team
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Charged Up Saturn
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 18, 2004
Although Cassini has only been orbiting the planet Saturn since July 1, data from the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) has already begun to provide new information about the curious nature of Saturn's space environment.
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