Phenomena

Saturnian Clouds

It may look like an oil slick, but the photo above actually shows the clouds of Saturn. The false-color composite image reveals the gas giant in infrared, at wavelengths longer than those visible to the human eye. NASA uses this infrared photography to identify different chemical compositions in Saturn’s atmosphere based on how they reflect sunlight. You can see an example of how they construct these images here. This detail shot appears to show cloud bands of different compositions mixing. You can see hints of shear instabilities forming along the edges  where the light and dark bands meet. (Image credit: NASA; via Gizmodo)

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