Washington: The US space agency NASA has released a new image of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft that shows the ringed planet in wavelengths of light that are absorbed by methane in the atmosphere.
According to NASA, the soft, bright-and-dark bands displayed by Saturn in the image are the signature of methane in the planet's atmosphere.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on September 6, 2015, using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 728 nanometers.
This image was taken in wavelengths of light that are absorbed by methane on Saturn.
Dark areas are regions where light travels deeper into the atmosphere (passing through more methane) before reflecting and scattering off of clouds and then heading back out of the atmosphere. In such images, the deeper the light goes, the more of it gets absorbed by methane, and the darker that part of Saturn appears, explains NASA in its official website.
Cassini spacecraft has been studying Saturn and its many natural satellites since arriving there in 2004. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to orbit the giant ringed planet.