Saturn's north pole holds something even more strange than a globe-trotting Santa Claus -- a giant hexagon shape within the planet's atmosphere. Now NASA's Cassini spacecraft has imaged the whole hexagonal pattern in visible light for the first time.
The hexagon has remained a mystery ever since NASA's Voyager spacecraft first discovered it in the early 1980s. Cassini has used its spectrometer to observe the hexagon in both visual and infrared light since 2006, but at lower resolution than the newest visible-light images.
Scientists speculate that the six-sided shape represents the path of a jet stream, but still don't understand what controls the jet stream in such a rigid manner. The latest image mosaics created by Cassini show waves radiating from the hexagon corners, and also reveal a multi-walled structure within each hexagon side.
One of the most unusual features within the new images is a large spot inside the hexagon. The spot could have connections to an earlier large spot located outside the hexagon, which was imaged by Voyager but eventually disappeared in 1991. That's the year when Saturn entered its long winter polar night, with emphasis on long – a whole Saturn year lasts about 29 Earth years.
Cassini's latest photo opportunity only came about after Saturn's August 2009 equinox, which signaled the start of northern spring.
Informative one. Never been heard before regarding the hexagon shape of the Saturn. The image looks real and creepy.
There are obviously alien buildings that are causing the winds to swirl around it in that shape.
Balderdash. Clearly it's a formation of monoliths.
It was determined years ago that this was the drain plug that allowed the planet to be deflated and put away for storage.
Will wonders ever cease? This reminds us that the universe is weirder than we can imagine. I don't know of any natural process that naturally forms hex shapes, other than crystal formations and honeycombs. Certainly there's nothing on the scale of this. If the shape is stable, that makes it even more bizarre than the Great Red Spot. Time for a much closer look?
you all are crazy. i can't believe that you would post such ridiculous ideas. i mean, just look at it... spinning around just like a laundry dryer. this is obviously the other end of the vortex where all of our missing socks go.
Some consider this hexagon to be one of the first-discovered pieces of evidence of the fourth dimension being real and not merely theoretical. They speculate that hyperdimensional physics will provide the answer. There may be a similar, though not as clearly distinguishable, hexagon shape spotted on Jupiter (in its clouds) and on Mars (in its receding polar ice cap) as well.
Google for: scienceray.com/astronomy/something-strange-about-saturn/
Massive planetary bodies have other as-yet-unexplained, stationary phenomena that relate to such theoretical hyperdimensional physics. At such a special location, Earth has the stationary hot spot that has created the islands of Hawaii. Mars has the largest shield volcano in our solar system, and Jupiter's famed red spot also exists at about 19 degrees from its equator.
Looks like the point you see on a mountian where weather pretty much stops and everything else above it is ice. You can still see the area on what may be an ice sheet of were weather still exsist and then bam nothing, dead space.
Could this be the first step of the 2012 invasion? JK. But it is very odd and suspicious for there to be points of light, observable from space, to be at the "corners" of this unnatural shape (unnatural for atmospheres of course). Not to mention the spot that was outside of the field of effect to dissappear and then some time later to reappear within the shape.
Some people want to beilive we're not alone, some people are convinced we are. I'm not going to say either side is true or justified, but this whole situation plus the strange lights over Norway gives me reason to believe something's going on.
this is clearly a sign that aliens did or do exist. What if this is a alien colony/military base?
HOLY F***ING SH** THIS WEEK IS FREAKING WIERD WE FOUND TWO THINGS THAT SAY ALIENS ARE OUT THERE FIRST THAT SPINNING COMET THING NOW THIS(I know we knew about this for some time) GEEZ THE ALIENS HAVE GONE MAD!!!!!!!!!!
Just so we're clear, the big black hole in the middle is simply an unphotographed region, not the actual center of the cloud. Take a look the wikipedia link I posted for a much better gif animation of the cloud in motion.
Sorry to burst your bubble Lily Evans, but the fourth dimension is physical and not merely theoretical; it's called time.
Chendrix89 - Lily means a 4th spacial dimension. Theory suggests that there are 10 or 11 (I think 10 but am not remembering clearly) spacial dimensions a time being an additional.
IT"S A GIANT CAMERA LENS!
They're watching us.
Why, it's a small black hole there...
Saturn is 75% hydrogen, and the crystal structure of hydrogen is hexagonal. Maybe there's a giant hydrogen crystal at the center of Saturn, or surrounding the liquid metallic hydrogen center.
I love the humorous comments, and the scientific questioning ones, but I have a question of my own (and it may sound stupid to thoseintheknow, because I have no scientific background): could the hexagonal structure of gasses be the result of something solidifying in Saturn's largely gasseous structure? This is how planets formed in the beginning, yes? I reference gaolin's comment about hydrogen crystals. Does anybody know if this was or wasn't the beginning of solid rock planets?
A similar effect has been seen in Hurricane Isabel on Earth. The eyewall of the hurricane formed into a pentagon at some point. You can google this to find some pictures.
@b00n3s and uncleiroh13
those lights over norway was a rocket test. the blue is a spent propellant which looks like its going up or down depending on perspective. when a object is high up flying perpendicular to the ground it can look as if its going up or down.
just follow the source links at the end of the article and they describe it.
I'm not that amazed to learn that Saturn is an Ikea product.
well i still say that it's either aliens, or maybe crystalized hydrogen is growing on top of the hydrogen metal... idk... blaming it on aliens is easier on the brain.
Hexapodia is the key.
i don't understand. why is it so special that there is a hexagon in saturn's atmosphere?
There are many possible ways to explain such a item, the best one I like is a illusion created by the camera photo processing software. The photos I have seen makes me think that there is a problem with the camera, or camera software, not functioning properly.
i am still really confused...why is this important?
I don't think it's an issue with the camera software, as the storm has been observed by two separate spacecraft - Voyager 1 and Cassini.
@Claud - It's interesting/special because generally you don't see storms take this shape. Have you ever seen a hurricane on Earth form into a hexagonal shape? Probably not, though I did mention earlier that a pentagon shape was observed in Hurricane Isabel. Oddities always intrigue us, especially when there are interesting scientific mechanisms that cause them, especially on such a massive scale as this.
Also, no one says things have to be amazingly important for them to make their way on Pop Sci, or many other science publications for that matter. It may not be important to you, but it probably is to other people.
Nature DOES NOT make gaseous formations such as this. who knows what this is?
why can't I access learning Drupal on Saturn???