Cassini Captures Saturn's Strange Hexagon
Pictures And Multimedia 3/28/07
NASA's oribter Cassini captures a mysterious hexagon shape above Saturn's North Pole. The anomalous shape is twice the width of the Earth, and is surrounded by swirling clouds.
Kevin Baines of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: "This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides. We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."
With the use of an infra-red camera, scientists see the hexagon along with a smaller six sided formation inside it.
NASA is comparing this hexagon at the poles to Earth's polar vortex in which wind blows in a circular motion around the pole, but in the stunning case of Saturn, the shape is a hexagon!
Nasa's Voyager 1 and 2 probes have seen this formation more than 20 years ago, but the original sighting didn't have the hexagon shape. NASA scientists currently think that Saturn is generating heat within the planet based on the colors of the hexagon.