A monstrous hurricane on Saturn’s north pole was captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Even by Solar system standards, this was a super storm on steroids.
Last Published: Wed, May 01 2013. 12 16 PM IST
This handout image released by NASA shows the clouds of a hurricane-like storm circulating around the north pole of Saturn out to 88.5 degrees north latitude. The latitude of the bright ring of clouds is 89.0 degrees, about 587 miles from the pole. Reuters
The eye of the storm is about 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. The winds are four times the speed of the Earth’s jet streams and more than four times the definition of a hurricane force wind on Earth. AFP
The clouds at the very center spin almost twice as fast as the planet itself, with a period just over six hours. The direction of rotation is counter-clockwise, like a northern hemisphere hurricane on Earth, except there is no ocean underneath. AFP
A natural colour view of the north pole of Saturn, in the fresh light of spring. The hurricanes on Earth begin in the tropics and drift around, but, the polar hurricanes on Saturn are locked to their poles. AFP
The NASA logo at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On the same day, NASA also released pictures of the Andromeda galaxy, Magellanic Cloud galaxy and the Orion nebula highlighting fledgling stars hidden in gas and clouds. AFP