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Animation of Neutral Gas Cloud Around Titan
Gas cloud around Titan

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Images from the magnetospheric imaging instrument and the ion and neutral camera onboard the Cassini spacecraft reveal aspects of the interactions between Saturn's dynamic population of hot energetic ions and the clouds of cold neutral atoms. Future observations may further explain the relationships between these interactions.

This animation shows observations taken during a 3-hour interval in Saturn orbit insertion. The camera spotted an emission region that spanned more than 90 degrees in longitude of the view from the night side of the planet, and extended toward the dawn sector of the magnetosphere. Scientists believe the region is more disc-like because it spanned only 20 degrees above Saturn’s equatorial plane. By coincidence, at the time of Saturn orbit insertion, Titan was located in the direction of the center of this emission region. The observation period was too short to tell them whether the region was co-moving with Titan; however scientists believe it was not.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The magnetospheric imaging instrument team is based at Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Md.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the instrument team's home page,

Image credit: NASA/JPL/JHU/APL/Max-Plank-Institut für Aeronomie/University of Maryland/University of Kansas/University of Arizona/CESR/Bell Laboratories

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