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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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  • Surely (Score:3, Funny)

    by tenaciousj (769989) on Friday May 20, 2011 @10:57AM (#36191920)

    We must fight to end global warming or this will only continue to get worse!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by agent_blue (413772)

      we already ruled out the sun as a driver of climate change, so the only conclusions are that the people of Saturn have been producing too much greenhouses gases, and thus destroying their planet. ipso facto, there are Martians on Saturn.

      • by CTalkobt (81900)

        we already ruled out the sun as a driver of climate change, so the only conclusions are that the people of Saturn have been producing too much greenhouses gases, and thus destroying their planet. ipso facto, there are Martians on Saturn.

        Martians? I thought there were too many cows.

      • we already ruled out the sun as a driver of climate change....

        My sarcasm detector is in the shop again, so I must explicitly observe that the sun is, and has always been, the primary driver of climate.

        Climate has never needed us to change it, just as species have never needed us to extinct them.

        Things like this don't need us, but they are happy to take our help.

        Especially at anthropomorphizing themselves - they love our help there.

      • This was exactly my thought. Instead of wasting all of our time looking for water on planets as a sign of possible life, simply look for greenhouse gases. If there are any advanced super aliens out there, they're planet must be a veritable sauna by now.

        • by Coren22 (1625475)

          Except perhaps those aliens wouldn't have the NIMBYs we have to deal with and would have shifted over to nuclear fission, and possibly even nuclear fusion.

          • by Evtim (1022085)

            I've always been in favour of Dyson sphere [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere]. Surely not a big deal for very advanced species...

    • by Viol8 (599362)

      You're about 10 years too late with that "gag". Try a bit harder.

    • The "storm" is the result of stupid attempts by Saturnians to limit CO2 emissions with nuclear plants. One of them just blew up.

  • In Perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @11:02AM (#36191974)

    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.

    • have you also noticed that it looks like a cum shot in the cassini probe: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/12/28/a-saturnian-storm-larger-than-worlds/ [discovermagazine.com]

      Dangit, God! I told him to keep it in his pants, but he couldn't contain himself when he saw Saturn.
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        looks like a single sperm cell.

        That Cassini probe needs to stop thinking about sexual things all the time....
      • Thank God it wasn't on Uranus...
      • by SheeEttin (899897)
        That's because fluids are the same, no matter where in the universe you go.

        (Now if you were to go to another universe, I can't guarantee the local laws of physics will apply there as well. Which does not bode well for hyperdimensional porn studios.)
    • 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."

      • by pnewhook (788591)

        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

        Ok. How about 'the storm is the same size as 528000 football fields placed end to end' ?

        • 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

          Ok. How about 'the storm is the same size as 528000 football fields placed end to end' ?

          Or how about just saying it's big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think the one that went through Alabama was big, but that's just peanuts to Saturn's, listen...

      • Maybe you should measure it in terms of "Library of Congress". Maybe Volkswagons. There's always hail. Or some other scientific terms like these.

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        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."

        An SF story of my acquaintance ("Meeting with Medusa"? Here [wikipedia.org]) has a Jovenaut balloonist comparing the surface area of the Earth spread out on Jupiter as similar to the area of India on the Earth.

        I'd have to work out a similar comparison for Saturn ; NA doesn't sound far off though.

    • by onepoint (301486)

      if you were to look at this in perspective, the storm seems to be the same size ratio as one on earth.

    • Its quite beautiful. 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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

    • At 3000 miles wide, this "storm" is about 40% the diameter of the Earth.

      Typhoon Tip was 1380 miles in diameter, so 3000 miles isn't that impressive considering the difference in size between Earth and Saturn.

  • So, maybe it's not just the end of our world, but Saturn as well?

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      It's just the location of Heaven. The lord is giving a good dusting to all the vacant houses there in preparation for tomorrow, hopefully it'll have settled by 6PM.
      • Exactly. Look at the storm, what color is it? It's white. What else is white? Angels. This is not a storm, this is a gathering of angels to.. well, storm the Earth. They better get moving if they hope to be here tomorrow.

    • Oye, end-timers. Annoyingly resilient to the perpetuated existence of the world.

      But honestly, maybe these little crazes are a good thing, society-wise. I mean, it's one of those things that, no matter what you do, someone somewhere is going to look at something and claim the end of the world is nigh. Fact of life.
      I remember hearing about some sort of scenario involving the alignment of the planets when I was a kid and, well, I was pretty stupid and got scared. Well maybe "scared" is a bit strong. I was
      • by Stone2065 (717387)
        In reference to your "crazies in society" line... remember, you need some yeast to make the bread rise... :)
  • How could we know if it was related to some sort of an impact?
  • by Ixokai (443555) on Friday May 20, 2011 @11:22AM (#36192198)

    Look what we've done now, our polluting ways have gone and broken Saturn too. :(

  • by PPH (736903)

    Mobilize FEMA. Or they'll miss this one as well.

  • How long until 'the experts' give us another inconvenient truth?
    • Well, you made sure that it will take longer than the idiots spamming an unrelated topic with their denialist bullshit. Seriously, slashdot. We get some interesting astronomy news and half the posts are climate change trolls. Way to go, folks.
      • by capnkr (1153623)

        ...idiots spamming an unrelated topic with their denialist bullshit. ... half the posts are climate change trolls.

        Seems to me that your post fits right in there as an exemplary illustration of what it is that you are whining about. People who don't think as you prefer to, they are automatically labeled "idiots", and their personal thoughts/perceptions on the topic are "bullshit", right? And because of this, they are automatically labeled in your mind as "trolls", so you call them out in an insulting and derogatory manner.

        Be careful chucking those rocks, what with that glass house you are living in...

  • Obviously Saturn has reached it's industrial age, and we are seeing the plume from their smokestacks. Beware our future giant planet steampunk overlords.

  • Raging storms on earth, the reappearance of the Jupiter Southern Equatorial belt with more storms than normal and now Saturn. Seriously, what are we missing?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's just Odin traversing the solar system on his way to Earth for Ragnarok tomorrow.
  • "amateur astronomers here on Earth" I didn't know we had amateur astronomers elsewhere. I suppose the folks up on the space station, but I wouldn't count them as amateurs even if their background isn't astronomy...
  • It's full of stars!

  • 3000 mile, 5000 kilometer, 8000 pixel...

    We must stop the Saturnians before their power becomes over nine thousand.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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