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Does Saturn have a bee in its bonnet?

April 2, 2007

Cassini discloses Saturn's north poleThe solar system continues to be a prolific Wow! generator. Cassini, NASA’s spectacularly successful Saturn probe, has returned the first extensive pictures of Saturn’s north pole. And they are passing strange. The winds and cloud formations create a nearly perfect hexagon around the pole, a couple of earth diameters across.

Here’s a larger still picture, and here is the JPL press release .

The middle graphic on the right of the press release page shows a movie of the pole, with the hexagon rotating steadily counterclockwise. I don’t know about you, but that animation sends quite a chill up my spine. Lefty loosy, remember? What is preparing to emerge from beneath when that hexnut finally unscrews? The “face on Mars” was pretty spooky, but at least (1) it wasn’t real and (2) it didn’t bloody move.

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One comment

  1. This structure in Saturn’s atmosphere is amazing to me, too. I keep thinking about the other places in Nature where we see it. Imagine what other oddities we’ll find around Saturn… just because we can now point a camera at it.



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