This is the Web Edition of "A Trip Into Space", a Coimbra-based electronic book on space science. Both the texts and the photos are by courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

False Color Image

This image of Saturn, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on Oct. 18, 1980, was color-enhanced to increase the visibility of large, bright features in Saturn's North Temperate Belt. It is believed that these spots might closely resemble gigantic convective storms (similar to, but much larger than thunderstorms in Earth's atmosphere) with upwelling from deep within Saturn's atmosphere. The nature of the dark spots like the one visible on the northern edge of the belt is not yet clearly understood, though they seem to resemble equally mysterious features seen on Jupiter. The largest violet-colored cloud belt (its true color is brownish) is Saturn's North Equatorial Belt. The distinct color difference between this and other belts and zones may be due to a thicker haze layer covering the northern portion of the belt. The Southern Hemisphere of the planet (below the rings) appears bluer than the Northern Hemisphere because of the increased scattering of sunlight upon that area due to the spacecraft's point-of-view. Numerous gaps and divisions in the rings are becoming more apparent as Voyager 1 approches Saturn. The newly discovered dark radial features in the rings are faintly shown on the lower right portion of the rings. Three separate Voyager images taken through ultraviolet, green and violet filters were used to construct this blue, green and red color composite of Saturn. The lower edge of the rings were "clipped" due to a slight drift of the spacecraft. Color spots in the rings are an artifact of image processing. The Voyager Project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Last Update: 2004-Nov-27