The Saturn Rose
Located directly over Saturn’s North Pole is a GIANT hurricane measuring around 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) across with cloud speeds reaching 330 mph (150 m/s). That is about 20 times bigger than the average hurricane here on Earth! Another interesting difference is that it doesn’t seem to move around at all. NASA stated that “the hurricane swirls inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as The Hexagon.” They went on to say that it has likely been spinning in the same location for years, but no one really knows why…
The image above was shot from the Cassini spacecraft which has been cruising around Saturn taking photos of the planet and its moons since 2004. The hurricane has apparently been obscured by a long winter in the north pole, but the seasons have shifted, and we have recently gained enough light to see the beast in all its glory.
Here’s how the image was taken:
“The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nanometers are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nanometers are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nanometers are projected as red. In this scheme, red indicates low clouds and green indicates high ones.”
In other words, they used false colors to show low clouds in red versus high clouds in green. What an amazing solar system we have…