The Kid Should See This

Storm Chasing on Saturn: The hexagon-shaped hurricane

Hexagon-shaped storms exist. There is a massive, persistent, hexagon-shaped jet stream on Saturn’s north pole — “the perfect six-sided hurricane, 60 miles deep, that could swallow four Earths…”

The New York TimesStorm Chasing on Saturn describes our first Voyager mission views of the phenomenon in 1981–82, as well as more recent Cassini images, like the NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University images below.

pia17652-640

How did this unusual hexagonal storm form? How long has it existed? What’s happening in those corners? Lab tests suggest some “how it’s made” answers — “friction with slower-moving atmosphere on either side of the jet stream would create eddies, miniature hurricanes, that would push the jet stream north and south as it went around the planet, resulting in a wave shape” — but the Cassini team is still looking into a huge list of unanswered questions as they prep to observe Saturn during its well-lit summer solstice in 2017.

In the archives, more storms, more hexagons, more auroras, and more Saturn.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

Alien Matter in the Solar System

Rion Nakaya

Osiris-Rex: Chasing Asteroid Bennu – Out There

Rion Nakaya

Apotheosis – Northern Lights over Icelandic landscapes

Rion Nakaya

Cassini Burns Into Saturn, a grand finale to a 20 year mission

Rion Nakaya

The Auroras, Earth’s Art Show – It’s Okay to Be Smart

Rion Nakaya

Brian Cox’s Favorite Wonder: Saturn’s moon Titan

Rion Nakaya

Airglow & the secrets behind Earth’s colorful ionosphere

Rion Nakaya

This is NOT time lapse: the Aurora Borealis in real time

Rion Nakaya

Outer Space: sequences from NASA’s Cassini and Voyager missions

Rion Nakaya

 
Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.

 

Subscribe