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Astronomy Picture of the Day

Posted By Editor On December 26, 2011 @ 11:30 am In Photo Essays | Comments Disabled

It is one of the largest and longest lived storms ever recorded in our Solar System. First seen late last year, the above cloud formation in the northern hemisphere of Saturn started larger than the Earth and soon spread completely around the planet. The storm has been tracked not only from Earth but from up close by the robotic Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn.

 

 

 

 

saturnstorm2 cassini 977 670x506 Astronomy Picture of the Day [1]
A Raging Storm System on Saturn 
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team [2]SSI [3]JPL [4]ESA [5]NASA [6]

Explanation: It is one of the largest and longest lived storms ever recorded in our Solar System. First seen late last year, the above cloud formation [7] in the northern hemisphere of Saturn started larger than the Earth and soon spread [8] completely around the planet. The storm has been tracked not only from Earth [9] but from up close [10] by the robotic Cassini spacecraft [11] currently orbiting Saturn. Pictured above [12] in false colored infrared in February, orange colors indicate clouds deep [13] in the atmosphere, while light colors highlight clouds higher up. The rings of Saturn [14] are seen nearly edge-on as the thin blue horizontal line. The warped dark bands are the shadows of the rings [15] cast onto the cloud tops by the Sun to the upper left. A source of radio noise from lightning [16], the intense storm [17] may relate to seasonal changes as spring slowly emerges [18] in the north of Saturn.


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/saturnstorm2_cassini_977.jpg

[2] Cassini Imaging Team: http://ciclops.org/

[3] SSI: http://www.spacescience.org/

[4] JPL: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

[5] ESA: http://www.esa.int/

[6] NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/

[7] above cloud formation: http://www.ciclops.org/index/6967/The_Saturn_Storm_Chronicles

[8] soon spread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--YJcJrDYnM

[9] from Earth: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110317.html

[10] up close: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110119.html

[11] Cassini spacecraft: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/overview/

[12] Pictured above: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA12829

[13] clouds deep: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110708.html

[14] rings of Saturn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn

[15] shadows of the rings: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap111012.html

[16] lightning: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100419.html

[17] intense storm: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080505.html

[18] slowly emerges: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW0EsR2FBD4

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