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Incredible Raw Image of Saturnís Swirling North Pole (Saturn's Enigmatic Swirling Hexagon)
Universe Today ^ | November 28, 2012 | Jason Major

Posted on 11/28/2012 10:32:10 AM PST by lbryce

Are you ready for this?

I know… WOW.

This swirling maelstrom of clouds is what was seen over Saturn’s north pole earlier today, November 27, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This is a raw image, acquired in polarized light, from a distance of 238,045 miles (383,097 kilometers)… all I did was remove some of the hot pixels that are commonly found on Cassini images taken with longer exposures.

Again… WOW.

My attempt at a color composite can be seen below, plus another treat:

It’s rough, and a little muddy because the clouds were moving between image channels (not to mention the blue channel image was rather underexposed) but here’s a color-composite of the same feature, made from images taken from a slightly different perspective:


Color composite of Saturn’s north polar vortex

Pretty darn cool… Cassini does it yet again!

The images above show an approximately 3,000-4,000-km-wide cyclone above Saturn’s north pole. Saturn is also known to have a long-lived hexagonal jet stream feature around its north pole as well, but that is not shown in those images as it runs along a lower latitude. Instead, you can see that HERE:


Saturn’s northern hexagon

Captured with wider angle in this image the hexagon structure can be made out as well as the vortex, which sits at the center just over the pole. Saturn’s hexagon is about 25,000 km (15,500 miles) in diameter… large enough to fit almost four Earths inside. This image was also acquired today.

An RGB composite of this feature is below:


Saturn’s northern hexagon – color composite

It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten such a good look at Saturn’s north pole… thanks to Cassini’s new orbital trajectory, which is taking it high above the ring plane and poles of Saturn, we now have the opportunity to view the gas giant’s dynamic upper latitudes again. I’m sure this is just a taste of what’s to come!


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cassini; catastrophism; chat; polarvortex; saturn; science
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The first look ever at Saturn's swirling North Pole were only partial images sent by the 1980's Voyager fly-by craft that surely must have confounded scientists with the enigmatic hexagonal shape. The theory at the time that the swirling hexagon on Saturn's North Pole were merely temporary was found to be emphatically wrong when twenty years later Cassini's cameras proved the daunting vision of the Saturn's swirling North Pole a permanent fixture of the planet.
1 posted on 11/28/2012 10:32:19 AM PST by lbryce
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To: SunkenCiv

Saturn ping


2 posted on 11/28/2012 10:33:54 AM PST by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: lbryce
This is a raw image, acquired in polarized light, from a distance of 238,045 miles

That's about the distance from the earth to the moon.

Thanks for the post, marvelous photos.

3 posted on 11/28/2012 10:36:07 AM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: lbryce

Great pictures!!

Any idea what the wind speeds are?


4 posted on 11/28/2012 10:36:16 AM PST by aquila48
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To: lbryce

Isen’t MY G*D AWESOME!


5 posted on 11/28/2012 10:45:20 AM PST by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
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To: lbryce

Has there been any theorizing on the mechanism that is creating a standing hexagonal wind flow pattern at the North Pole?


6 posted on 11/28/2012 10:46:37 AM PST by Captain Rhino (Determined Effort is the hammer that Human Will uses to forge Tomorrow on the anvil of Today.)
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To: lbryce
I categorically deny that this is my fault.
Why?
I'm just preempting it.
7 posted on 11/28/2012 10:50:39 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: lbryce

I could’ve sworn I saw the Monolith at the left edge of the third picture.


8 posted on 11/28/2012 10:58:01 AM PST by Night Hides Not (The Tea Party was the earthquake, and Chick Fil A the tsunami...100's of aftershocks to come.)
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To: Captain Rhino
Has there been any theorizing on the mechanism that is creating a standing hexagonal wind flow pattern at the North Pole?


9 posted on 11/28/2012 11:01:34 AM PST by GoldMan (Never try to rationalize an irrational mind............)
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To: lbryce

probably only permanent in the sense of thousands of years. 20 yrs is nothing to the gas giant.


10 posted on 11/28/2012 11:30:27 AM PST by Gasshog
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To: Gasshog

I would have to agree. Technically speaking you are correct.
Rephrased, I would say, the Hexagon had more permanence than what was first thought.


11 posted on 11/28/2012 12:05:22 PM PST by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: lbryce

Very cool images! Thanks!


12 posted on 11/28/2012 12:26:11 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: lbryce

Awesome pics


13 posted on 11/28/2012 12:44:27 PM PST by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: lbryce

Incredible Raw Image of Saturn’s Swirling North Pole (Saturn's Enigmatic Swirling Snowflake)

14 posted on 11/28/2012 12:53:43 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (yup)
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To: lbryce; Ernest_at_the_Beach; brytlea; cripplecreek; decimon; bigheadfred; KoRn; Grammy; ...

Thanks lbryce, an ‘extra, extra’ to APoD members.


15 posted on 11/28/2012 7:51:34 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...
Thanks lbryce.



16 posted on 11/28/2012 7:53:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Captain Rhino

I saw a video, I believe it was on Science channel, that showed scientists swirling liquids at high speeds in a large, clear vat. They put numerous coloring compounds of different densities in it and managed to form a hexagon around the pole much the same way it is seen here.

I believe it’s due to Saturn’s rotation and the differences in atmospheric densities and wind speeds that cause this very cool-looking feature.


17 posted on 11/29/2012 5:53:05 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: lbryce

Then there are the twin vortices on Venus' south pole.

18 posted on 11/29/2012 7:28:42 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

Venus has breasts.


19 posted on 11/29/2012 7:32:42 AM PST by Lazamataz (Islam is a religious form of Nazism.)
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To: Lazamataz

Oh no you did not.

20 posted on 11/29/2012 7:36:22 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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