We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Watch This: Cassini Captures Saturn's Wild Polar Hurricane

By Gemma Tarlach
Apr 30, 2013 11:54 PMNov 20, 2019 1:41 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The spinning vortex of Saturn's north polar storm resembles a deep red rose of giant proportions surrounded by green foliage in this false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI The Cassini spacecraft has provided NASA with the first visible-light glimpse of a massive weather system circling Saturn’s north pole. The spinning storm is 20 times larger than the average hurricane on Earth. Cassini detected a vortex-like weather phenomenon inside a mysterious, hexagonally shaped jet stream near Saturn’s north pole shortly after arriving at the planet in 2004, but Saturn’s winter prevented any visible light viewing. Since its equinox in 2009, however, Saturn has been receiving more sunlight at its north pole, illuminating the hurricane-like system, which scientists believe has been ongoing, possibly for years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HesYzfjQZ5U This NASA video clearly shows the system’s cloudless eye and counterclockwise spin, evocative of our planet’s hurricanes, though its size — the eye alone is 1,250 miles across — and speed, clocking in with 300 mile an hour winds, are on a far more impressive scale. NASA researchers hope to determine whether the system is a hurricane and, if so, how it sustains itself given the limited amount of water on Saturn. Video courtesy of NASA

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.