Cassini’s latest offering could be an abstract painting, a close-up of a marble or tie-dyed T-shirt. But according to NASA, which shared the image online Wednesday, the shot reveals Saturn’s clouds.
The photograph actually encompasses several images captured by the probe’s wide-angle camera, each using a different spectral filter sensitive to different frequencies of infrared light.
By differentiating between types and frequencies of light waves, Cassini’s camera can probe Saturn’s cloud cover for information about its structure, composition, depth, density and more.
This particular framing reveals the clouds hovering above Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The amalgamation of images was assembled by Kevin M. Gill, a longtime space imagery specialist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Though most of Cassini’s operations are managed by scientists and engineers at JPL in Pasadena, much of the program’s image processing happens at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.