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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/10/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Storm has raged for years, possibly centuries.

NASA has released new images of Saturn's north pole. The region is famous for its hexagon-shaped storm which has swirled over the area as long as scientists have viewed the region.

This strangely-shaped storm was first detected on Saturn in 1981 and has raged ever since.

This strangely-shaped storm was first detected on Saturn in 1981 and has raged ever since.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/10/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: NASA, Saturn, hexagon, images, cassini


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - To see a geometric shape in space is quite rare, so when scientists first saw the hexagonal storm swirling over Saturn's north pole in 1981, they were quite surprised. Ever since high-resolution images of the planet have captured imaginations.

Some of those imaginations have been a bit over-active with conspiracy theorists ascribing the feature to supernatural or extraterrestrial intelligence. However, scientific analysis suggests the feature is entirely natural and explicable by means of fluid dynamics. In fact, scientists have replicated the storm in the lab.

The most recent of the hexagon in false color to highlight details.

The most recent of the hexagon in false color to highlight details.


Still, the hexagon captures the imagination.

It is larger than the Earth with each side of the pattern stretching for 8,600 miles. The storm rotates under 11 hours and has a powerful vortex in the center which pulls gasses down into the planet's interior. The winds inside the storm blow at hundreds of miles per hour.

Although the storm was first observed by the Voyager mission in 1981, it is likely much older possibly by centuries.

The Cassini space probe continues to loop around Saturn and its moons, and as it continues its mission it also takes images of the hexagon.

Recently, NASA released a color-filtered image of the hexagon.

Enjoy these images of one of the Solar System's most enigmatic objects.

This image shows the hexagon in more natural colors.

This image shows the hexagon in more natural colors.



Another image of the hexagon by Cassini.

Another image of the hexagon by Cassini.



Another false color image of the hexagon. The center is home to a vicious vortex.

Another false color image of the hexagon. The center is home to a vicious vortex.



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