5 years ago5,000+ Views
From Adam Mann on Wired.com: "NASA’s Cassini mission has captured an incredible high-resolution animation of the psychedelic jet stream known as Saturn’s Northern Hexagon. The strange polygonal object is a continent-sized six-sided hurricane with 200 mph winds that spins around Saturn’s north pole. Scientists are at a loss to explain exactly how the hexagon gets its perfect shape but they suspect that it has to do with the way the jets interact with Saturn’s gaseous atmosphere. The colors seen in the gif above are not true color but instead are rendered so that Cassini’s science team can better identify the different gaseous particles that make up the hexagon’s haze. The hexagon was first discovered by the Voyager mission and has been studied extensively by Cassini, which has sent back the most incredible images from the great ringed planet. Now that Saturn is entering its northern summer, light conditions have improved, allowing the spacecraft to obtain the best images yet of this odd maelstrom. Saturn’s summer solstice will happen in 2017, just at the planned end of Cassini’s mission. But budget cuts at NASA could force the agency to retire Cassini early, possibly in 2015, meaning that researchers would lose out on a tremendous opportunity to study one of the solar system’s craziest mysteries."
@GarrusVakarian It's like the more we see, the more puzzled we become.
It's so weird that it's a perfect hexagon. Hopefully the Cassini mission is still going in 2017.