The Cassini spacecraft, which has orbited Saturn for 13 years, took the latest batch of photos. The spacecraft is now in what is called its grand finale, perhaps giving a new meaning to deep dive.
During its final orbits as it runs out of fuel, its high-resolution cameras will take unprecedented detailed photos amidst Saturn’s summer solstice before the spacecraft is scheduled to be decommissioned and plummet into the planet’s atmosphere in September.
Cassini captured the newest images with its wide-angle lens at a distance of approximately 560,000 miles from Saturn.
The hexagon formation, which is now in full sunlight, is estimated to be nearly 15,000 miles wide, suggesting that four Earths could fit inside it. “The famous hexagon shape itself circumscribes the northern polar vortex…which is understood to be the eye of a hurricane-like storm.The rings, consist of countless icy particles, which are continually colliding,” the Daily Mail explained.
According to NASA, the Saturn hexagon bears some similarities with Earth’s polar vortex, except that winds there blow in a circular manner.
Back in 2007, a NSA scientist remarked, “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.” (Related: Read more about NASA at Space.news.)
Several years ago, Health Ranger Mike Adams, the founder of Natural News, noticed what he described as a three-sided pyramid shape inside the hexagon along with an all-seeing eye, similar to what appears on the back of the dollar bill. He also suggested that the giant Saturn hexagon could be either a manifestation of a natural phenomenon such as cymatics (the process by which sound may alter the physical structure of materials) or a function of intelligent design. Mike suggested that the formation might be caused by low-frequency sound waves from Saturn’s surface.
— CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) May 2, 2017
The Saturn hexagon, which was first discovered by the Voyager mission about 30 years ago, is no run-of-the-mill discovery, a scientist on the Cassini team indicated.
The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable. A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries.
Another mystery has emerged according to NASA: Saturn’s north pole region has changed color from blue to gold in the past five years, and scientists don’t know exactly why, although they theorize it may be the result of a change in seasons. On Saturn, the polar winter ran for about 14 years, with the planet reaching its equinox in August 2009.
(Photo credit: NASA)