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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Planetary Scientists Study Saturn North Pole Atmospheric Hexagon

An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with the Cassini mission.

The atmospheric feature was already imaged by NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft over two decades ago. The fact that it has appeared in Cassini images indicates that it is a long-lived feature. A second hexagon, significantly darker than the brighter historical feature, is also visible in the Cassini pictures. The spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.

1 comment:

Barrie Tite said...

Could this be six interfeeding vortices, somehow analogous to the electron orbitals around a benzene molecule?