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Saturn's North Pole

Saturn's North Pole

C029/5709

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Credit

NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

This colourful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as the hexagon. There is a massive hurricane tightly centered on the north pole, with an eye about 50 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. Numerous small vortices are also present, which appear as reddish ovals. Some of these vortices spin clockwise while the hexagon and hurricane spin counter clockwise. Some of those smaller features are swept along with the jet stream of the hexagon, as if on a racetrack. The biggest of these vortices, seen near the lower right corner of the hexagon and appearing whitish, spans about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometres), approximately twice the size of the largest hurricane on Earth. The differences in wavelengths of light from ultraviolet to visible to infrared have been assigned colours, showing a distinct contrast between the types of atmospheric particles.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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