On November 27, 2012, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this amazing image of a monster storm raging at Saturn’s north pole. Viewed from 361,000 kilometers away, the storm’s sinister eye looks quite similar to Earth-based hurricanes leading scientists to surmise that the ringed planet’s storms form in much the same way, with warm, moist air rising from lower cloud layers to form a swirling vortex. Cassini captured the image in infrared wavelengths, which can peer deep into Saturn’s cloud layers. It is estimated that the storm is several times the surface area of the Earth in size.
According to Space.com:
“The violent windstorm 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.”
Here’s a nice shot of the strange six-sided storm system.