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Saturn Clouds, overview - Windows to the Universe

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This is an image of Saturn in falsecolor. The shadow of Saturn can be seen against the rings in the background.
Click on image for full size
NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Saturn Clouds, overview

This image of Saturn makes use of false color to show the cloud pattern. The clouds form in bands which move across the disk of Saturn. The banded pattern of clouds, or stripes, is similar to those found on all the giant planets, particularly in Jupiter's belts and zones. The similarity among all the giant planets, even Uranus, suggests that there may be a common way this pattern is created.

Cloud shapes of Saturn include eddy shapes, white ovals, and brown ovals, just like on Jupiter. A row of swirling eddies can be seen in the very middle of this image in white.

There are three clouddecks on Saturn, and each one is composed of different molecules. There is a clouddeck of ammonia clouds, a clouddeck of ammonia hydrosulfide clouds, and a clouddeck of water clouds (H2O).

Hazes of smog on Saturn are to be found at very high altitudes above the clouds of Saturn.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF