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Huge Saturn Vortex Swirls in Stunning NASA Photos

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 6:07:55 pm

[Link: www.space.com...]

Huge Vortex Storm on Saturn

Amazing new photos from NASA's Cassini probe orbiting Saturn reveal a dizzying glimpse into a monster storm raging on the ringed planet's north pole.

Cassini took the spectacular Saturn storm photos yesterday (Nov. 27) and relayed it back to Earth the same day, mission scientists said in a statement. The pictures reveal a swirling storm reminiscent of the recent Hurricane Sandy that recently plagued our own planet.

The tempest is located in a strange hexagonal cloud vortex at Saturn's north pole that was first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s, and sighted more closely by Cassini since then. The strange six-sided feature, which is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across, is thought to be formed by the path of a jet stream flowing through the planet's atmosphere.

"Cassini's recent excursion into inclined orbits has given mission scientists a vertigo-inducing view of Saturn's polar regions, and what to our wondering eyes has just appeared: roiling storm clouds and a swirling vortex at the center of Saturn's famed northern polar hexagon,"

Slideshow at Space.com