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| Space on Jul 10, 2012

Cassini finds vortex at south pole of Saturn’s moon Titan

The swirling mass appears to execute one full rotation in about nine hours – much faster than Titan’s 16-day rotation period.

The Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, has discovered a vortex at the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, NASA announced today (July 10, 2012).

This movie shows this mass of swirling gas around Titan’s south pole. The swirling mass appears to execute one full rotation in about nine hours – much faster than the moon’s 16-day rotation period. Cassini acquired these images before and after a distant flyby of Titan on June 27, 2012.

The south pole of Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers, across) is near the center of the view.

Now here’s the true color image. Wow.

True color image of Titan’s south polar vortex. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Read more from NASA about these images

See Saturn tonight! July 2012 guide to the five visible planets

Saturn’s large moon Titan has tropical lakes