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Bizarre Hexagon Spotted on Saturn.....

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Bizarre Hexagon Spotted on Saturn.....

Old 03-28-07, 01:50 PM
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Bizarre Hexagon Spotted on Saturn.....

http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...aturn_hex.html



One 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.

Rather than the normally sinuous cloud structures seen on all planets that have atmospheres, this thing is a hexagon.

The honeycomb-like feature has been seen before. NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged it more than two decades ago. Now, having spotted it with the Cassini spacecraft, scientists conclude it is a long-lasting oddity.

"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.

At Saturn's south pole, Cassini recently spotted a freaky human eye-like feature that resembles a hurricane. (
PIC HERE

"It's amazing to see such striking differences on opposite ends of Saturn's poles," said Bob Brown, team leader of the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer at the University of Arizona. "At the south pole we have what appears to be a hurricane with a giant eye, and at the north pole of Saturn we have this geometric feature, which is completely different."

The hexagon appears to have remained fixed with Saturn's rotation rate and axis since first glimpsed by Voyager 26 years ago. The actual rotation rate of Saturn is still uncertain, which means nobody knows exactly how long the planet's day is.

"Once we understand its dynamical nature, this long-lived, deep-seated polar hexagon may give us a clue to the true rotation rate of the deep atmosphere and perhaps the interior," Baines said.

Old 03-28-07, 01:59 PM
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That's pretty cool. This thread reminded me that I miss Foole.
Old 03-28-07, 02:04 PM
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If im not mistaken, Jupiter has diamonds in its atmosphere (due to the great amounts of pressure) if theres a similar carbon structure in saturns atmosphere, it could create a geometric shape id imagine. Kind of like how water splits up light to make a rainbow...
Old 03-28-07, 02:06 PM
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One question that I've always had about Saturn and I don't think has been answered for me is, is there any solid core to Saturn? Meaning, below all of those clouds, etc. is there any land down there? Or don't we know?

If there isn't any solid core, how could the planet retain its shape?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Chris
Old 03-28-07, 02:07 PM
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Old 03-28-07, 02:09 PM
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that's damn creepy... but ultracool!
Old 03-28-07, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mrpayroll
One question that I've always had about Saturn and I don't think has been answered for me is, is there any solid core to Saturn? Meaning, below all of those clouds, etc. is there any land down there? Or don't we know?
Like its larger sibling, Jupiter, Saturn is a ball of hydrogen and helium gas wrapped around a dense, rocky core.
Old 03-28-07, 02:11 PM
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Wow, this is a pretty cool deviation from all the normal hexagons we see in the universe.
Old 03-28-07, 02:20 PM
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Thank you, I wonder if we know how big these rocky cores are? Are they bigger than the planet Earth?

Chris
Old 03-28-07, 02:28 PM
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Kill The Hexagonians!
Old 03-28-07, 02:30 PM
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That's not nearly as interesting at the Sexygon on Uranus.
Old 03-28-07, 02:38 PM
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Well, we found them. Finally after all these speculative years. And they turn out to be giant bees.
Old 03-28-07, 02:39 PM
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I, for one, welcome our new hexagonian overlords.
Old 03-28-07, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mrpayroll

If there isn't any solid core, how could the planet retain its shape?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Chris
Gravity...lots of it. This applies whether it is solid or not.
Old 03-28-07, 04:02 PM
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I believe the core is around the size of Earth. Saturn is a neat planet. Despite its size, it would float in water because of the low density. It it also generates more energy than it receives from the sun, in part due to the high concentration of hydrogen in the atmosphere.
Old 03-28-07, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
No doubt this is god telling us...... he disapproves of hexagons. Or is it he favors them? Either way, gays are to blame.
Nah, it's all Bush's fault.
Old 03-28-07, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
No doubt this is god telling us...... he disapproves of hexagons. Or is it he favors them? Either way, gays are to blame.
Old 03-28-07, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
That's not nearly as interesting at the Sexygon on Uranus.
Hey! That's kind of sexist, don't you think?

Chris
Old 03-28-07, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by imperator505
Gravity...lots of it. This applies whether it is solid or not.
But could there be gravity if there was just the mixture of clouds and whatever it is made up of?

I thought you would have to have a solid core to produce gravity?

Please know that I barely made it out of high school and couldn't stand college so I only went one semester!


Chris
Old 03-28-07, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mrpayroll
But could there be gravity if there was just the mixture of clouds and whatever it is made up of?

I thought you would have to have a solid core to produce gravity?

Please know that I barely made it out of high school and couldn't stand college so I only went one semester!


Chris
Take our sun - it's a large ball of gas made up of mostly hydrogen. Its sheer size keeps our solar system orbiting around it. Remember, gravity is the force of attraction between two objects, not something that just exists in interstellar objects.

Here's Newton's Law for your records:

Each particle of matter attracts every other particle with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Old 03-28-07, 06:01 PM
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Shape reminds me of...

Old 03-28-07, 06:46 PM
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nasa guy on discovery the other day said the gas giants just have denser and dneser gas but no solid core
but I have to think that at the gravity and pressure involved there would be some sort of solid core, even if it's still a molecule that's normally a gas, like solid H2 or something
Old 03-28-07, 07:14 PM
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It's a signpost left by the Lords of Kobol pointing the way to Earth!
Old 03-28-07, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cartload
It's a signpost left by the Lords of Kobol pointing the way to Earth!

Beat me to it!
Old 03-28-07, 07:42 PM
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