Feast your eyes on this gorgeous view of Saturn

Another notch in Cassini's belt, this mosaic is from high above the ringed planet.

Saturn mosaic
Lord of the rings: This mosaic shows the view from above Saturn. NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute / Gordan Ugarkovic

Looking for a new desktop pic? Look no further.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues to astound by exploring Saturn's rings , finding household chemicals , and snapping photos of Earth from 900 million miles away.

One of its latest feats is this incredible view of Saturn, shot from high above its north pole.

Gordan Ugarkovic, who is described by NASA as an "amateur image processor and Cassini fan," assembled the image from photos taken by Cassini earlier this month.

If you look closely, you can see that Saturn's north pole exhibits a bizarre hexagonal cloud pattern, a unique feature that was first spotted by Voyager flybys.

Centering on a raging polar hurricane with 300mph winds, the structure is nearly 15,000 miles across, almost big enough to fit four Earths inside.

The composite image from above the milky, ringed world was based on shots using various filters to approximate true color. Ugarkovic processed the raw files and weaved them into a mosaic.

"This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts," NASA notes on its posting of Ugarkovic's image. "The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini's imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint."

The image clearly shows Saturn's large B ring in the middle, separated from the outside A ring by the Cassini Division, as well as a massive shadow cast by the planet.

An international project by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency, the Cassini-Huygens mission was launched in 1997 and first orbited Saturn in 2004, later putting a lander on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Check out some stunning Saturn and Earth imagery from Cassini in the gallery above. You can also download a full resolution copy of Ugarkovic's image here.

(Via Slate)

 

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