Bizarre Hexagon Spotted on Saturn

A bizarre six-sided featureOne of the most bizarre weather patterns known has been photographed at Saturn, where astronomers have spotted a huge, six-sided feature circling the north pole.

"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "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."

The hexagon is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across. Nearly four Earths could fit inside it. The thermal imagery shows the hexagon extends about 60 miles (100 kilometers) down into the clouds.

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Slippy said…
That's so cool.
Hexagons can form as a result of vibration, though I'm not sure why.

In my work, I use a power drill, and one of my drill bits is a little off-centre. When I'm drilling through a steel plate, the swarf often dances around on the surface and forms hexagons from time to time.
Uri Kalish said…
There you go...