Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Submission + - Monster 'Hurricane' on Saturn captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft (

SternisheFan writes: reports:
NASA released spectacular new images of a hurricane swirling at Saturn’s north pole captured by Cassini spacecraft. The storm 20 times the size of Hurricane Sandy has puzzled scientists, and may give an insight into how terrestrial hurricanes are formed.

Cassini had to wait for almost 7 years to take a closer view of the mysterious swirling pattern on the north pole of the gas giant in favorable light conditions. Known as the hexagon, the weather pattern fits two Earths in diameter, and has been found to be housing a vortex strikingly similar to a terrestrial hurricane, NASA reports.

Saturn hurricane’s eye, is however, 2,000 kilometers wide, spins four times faster than hurricane-force winds on Earth, and, as scientists believe, has been “stuck” at the planet’s pole for years.

But ultimately, there’re no oceans of water on Saturn to feed the enormous storm, which has set off scientists thinking of some alternative theory how hurricanes are formed and sustained.

“We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology, US.

“But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn’s hydrogen atmosphere,” Ingersoll said, adding that scientists will be studying the formation to gain insight into terrestrial hurricanes.

NASA Cassini Solstice mission:
Saturn Hurricane Movie

This discussion was created for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Monster 'Hurricane' on Saturn captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft

Comments Filter:

This screen intentionally left blank.