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One of the most bizarre weather patterns in the solar system 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 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," Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Tuesday in an image advisory. "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."
Originally posted by Rasobasi420
The fact that it's at the north pole makes it a little less strange though. With all of the gasses swirling around Saturn, I'm surprised there aren't more spirograph looking patterns on the surface.
Originally posted by Umbrax
Good thing it wasn't a pentagon or there would be lot of freaked out people.
[edit on 27/3/2007 by Umbrax]
Originally posted by TheBandit795
Uhm.. Hexagons appear often in nature, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is in fact natural. Lots of objects in nature has the golden ratio in them, which includes the pentagon, the hexagon and other objects, such as the swirl.
These objects all appear in nature. Which means that there is a prevalent mathematical formula in natural formations.
Originally posted by Orwells Ghost
Hyperdimensional physics anyone? Certain less than accepted theories () involving plantetary energy grids, an aether style cosmological medium, plasma physics etc. can explain these phenomenon far better than our current models. For me, this hexagon at the pole only further reinforces the special place the platonic solids hold in the universes. Plasma cosmology also offers an intriguing take on the physics of the universe, one that is far more amenable to phenomenon such as these. A little reding on these topics may provide further insight into exactly what is occuring here.