Late last year, a new, remarkably bright storm erupted in Saturn’s northern hemisphere. Amateur astronomers first spotted it in early December, with the ringed gas giant rising in planet Earth’s predawn sky.
Orbiting Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft was able to record this close-up of the complex disturbance from a distance of 1.8 million kilometers on December 24th. Over time, the storm has evolved, spreading substantially in longitude, and now stretches far around the planet. Saturn’s thin rings are also seen slicing across this space-based view, casting broad shadows on the planet’s southern hemisphere.