Thursday, May 2, 2013

saturn's hurricane

thanks to the cassini spacecraft, that is in orbit around saturn, we've known for a while that saturn's north pole features a massive storm in the shape of a hexagon, instead of earth's common circle-hurricane-storms.  check this out from november 2012:

saturn's north pole hexagon (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
now look at this infrared image taken by cassini late last year.  the red shows low clouds deep in the atmosphere, and green reveals high clouds floating above on the outskirts of the storm.  the depth of the image has a dizzying affect.... especially when you consider that the red storm covers an area of 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) across!

saturn's storm (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

if you have a telescope, or access to one, saturn is visible in the night sky right now.  it's always worth the effort to see it with your naked eye, enhanced by binoculars or a telescope, fluttering through our atmosphere.

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