New images released by NASA this week depict an enormous hurricane whipping around Saturn’s north pole. Taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, the photos show a storm with an eye about 20 times the the size of a typical hurricane on Earth.
Monster hurricane rages on Saturn’s north pole
By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times
April 29, 2013
Images of a massive hurricane raging inside a strange hexagonal weather pattern at Saturn’s north pole have recently been released by NASA, revealing a mystery inside an even bigger mystery.
The hurricane is enormous and violent–more than 20 times the size of the average hurricane on Earth, with winds gusting at speeds four times what they would be on our planet.
The hurricane appears to be fixed at Saturn’s north pole, rather than drifting around the planet like hurricanes do here. Also, scientists are still trying to figure out how the hurricane developed with no body of water below it. There are no oceans on Saturn; it is a gaseous planet.
But scientists were surprised to discover that Saturn’s north pole hurricane does share some characteristics with Earth’s hurricanes. For example, it has an eye, and it spins in the same direction — counterclockwise — that a hurricane would spin in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere.