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Fri Sep 7, 2018, 02:04 AM

Saturn Sprouts Another Weird Hexagon, Puzzling Scientists


By Kimberly Hickok, Reference Editor | September 5, 2018 07:42am ET

A bizarre, hexagon-shaped vortex has formed above Saturn's north pole as the planet's northern hemisphere enters summer, data from the international Cassini-Huygens mission revealed. The unusual vortex is circulating hundreds of kilometers above the clouds in the stratosphere layer of the ringed planet's atmosphere, a new study reported.

This warm polar vortex resembles another, previously discovered hexagon formation, also located at Saturn's north pole, but lower in the atmosphere. But how and whether these bizarre low- and high-altitude hexagons are related remains a mystery to scientists.

"Either a hexagon has spawned spontaneously and identically at two different altitudes, one lower in the clouds and one high in the stratosphere, or the hexagon is in fact a towering structure spanning a vertical range of several hundred kilometers," Leigh Fletcher, lead author of the study and planetary scientist at the University of Leicester in England, said in a statement. [Cassini's Greatest Hits: Best Photos of Saturn and Its Moons]

NASA's Cassini spacecraft arrived at the Saturn system in 2004, when it was summer in the planet's southern hemisphere and winter in the northern hemisphere. At the time, the spacecraft documented a circular, warm, high-altitude vortex at Saturn's south pole but nothing at the north pole.

More:
https://www.livescience.com/63497-saturn-high-altitude-hexagon-vortex.html

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Reply Saturn Sprouts Another Weird Hexagon, Puzzling Scientists (Original post)
Judi Lynn Sep 2018 OP
lapfog_1 Sep 2018 #1
Itchinjim Sep 2018 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Sep 7, 2018, 02:09 AM

1. well, we knew that Superman's lair was at the pole... we just had the planet wrong. - n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Sep 7, 2018, 06:56 AM

2. "It's full of stars!"

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