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Space Science

Saturn's Super Storm 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the jupiter's-had-it-too-good-for-too-long dept.
An anonymous reader sends in a brief writeup about a massive storm that's been visible on Saturn's surface for a few months now. "As it rapidly expanded, the storm's core developed into a giant, powerful thunderstorm, producing a 3,000-mile-wide (5,000-kilometer-wide) dark vortex possibly similar to Jupiter's Great Red Spot." The storm has been photographed by the Cassini probe, Hubble and even amateur astronomers here on Earth. (The Planetary Society Weblog also posted an 8,000-pixel-wide panorama a while back.) "The violence of the storm — the strongest disturbances ever detected in Saturn's stratosphere — took researchers by surprise. What started as an ordinary disturbance deep in Saturn's atmosphere punched through the planet's serene cloud cover to roil the high layer known as the stratosphere." A study on the thermal structure of the storm (abstract) was just published in the journal Science.
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Saturn's Super Storm

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  • Re:In Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Friday May 20, 2011 @11:39AM (#36192384)

    When you look at these photos, there is one aspect that is lost due to the size of the planet itself. At 3000 miles wide, this "storm" is about 40% the diameter of the Earth.

    Diameter of the Earth is a nearly meaningless comparison. Not only is the Earth not a perfect sphere, but also most people will have a hard time gauging the spatial reference to something more meaningful, such as "about the size of the entire continent of North America."

  • Re:In Perspective (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @12:19PM (#36192766)

    Doesn't need some cleaver caption trying to one-up the last one. Its wonderful to live in a time when we can witness this.

    Indeed, we're lucky to be born after the big bang.

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