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Titan's swirling south-polar vortex stands out brightly against the other clouds of the south pole. Cassini is monitoring the development of the south polar vortex to help understand seasonal changes on Saturn's largest moon.
For a color image of the south polar vortex on Titan, see PIA14919. For a movie of the vortex, see PIA14920.
This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Titan (3200 miles, 5150 kilometers across). North on Titan is up and rotated 36 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 31, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 74 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.