What’s With Saturn’s Hexagonal Jetstream?

dan-seitz
Senior Contributor
01.23.12 4 Comments

At right, courtesy of NASA is what the weather is like around Saturn’s north pole.

Weird, huh? It gets weirder.

That hexagonal shape seems to be some form of jet stream that circles the entire planet. We knew that something like this existed before, thanks to photos taken by Voyager, but Cassini finally got a few pictures of it…and now we know this thing doesn’t just have a really weird shape, it’s very enduring, since it literally hasn’t changed since we’ve taken photos of it decades ago with Voyager.

Then again, we are talking about a planet with heat and pressures so intense it turns hydrogen into a metal and radiates 2.5 times as much energy as it absorbs from the sun. So weirdness is pretty much the order of the day.

image courtesy NASA

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Dan Seitz is a grad student and freelance writer. He currently lives in Boston.

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