Saturn is doing its own thing lately, and scientists are intrigued by the planet’s northern region changing colors. Why? We’ll fill ya in.
So, Saturn’s north-polar hexagon has transitioned from blue to a more golden color in the last four years, and scientists believe it may be because of the increase in photochemicals in the atmosphere as the summer solstice approaches.
The increased sunlight over the years with Saturn’s seasons may also influence the winds in its polar regions, causing the color shift.
The curious images of Saturn were captured by a wide-angle camera that’s being used for the Cassini project, a joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency.
The agencies launched the Cassini Mission in 1997. Since then, its namesake robot has circled Saturn and returned images for scientists to learn more about the planet.
Before the end of this year, Cassini will begin a new extension of its mission to measure the planet’s gravitational and magnetic fields, sample the atmosphere and ionosphere around it, and gather additional information that will teach scientists more about the mysteries surrounding Saturn.
This latest Cassini exploration will be known as The Grand Finale, so it seems as if the space-robot’s exciting journey into space may come to an end soon.