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.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.