NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail
Jan. 31, 2013
Full-Res JPEG: PIA16639.jpg (358.6 kB) photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov...
This is really awesome, very interesting read also images ..
It's hard to imagine how big this storm really was ..
Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet about
the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA's Cassini mission describe how the massive storm churned
around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself in this
way anywhere in the solar system.
"This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane – but with a twist unique to Saturn,"
"Even the giant storms at Jupiter don’t consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a
theme and surprise us again and again."
The storm, first detected on Dec. 5, 2010, and tracked by Cassini's radio and plasma wave subsystem and imaging cameras, erupted around 33 degrees
north latitude. Shortly after the bright, turbulent head of the storm emerged and started moving west, it spawned a clockwise-spinning vortex that
drifted much more slowly. Within months, the storm wrapped around the planet at that latitude, stretching about 190,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) in
circumference, thundering and throwing lightning along the way.
"This thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn was a beast," said Kunio Sayanagi, the paper's lead author and a Cassini imaging team associate at Hampton
University in Virginia. "The storm maintained its intensity for an unusually long time. The storm head itself thrashed for 201 days, and its updraft
erupted with an intensity that would have sucked out the entire volume of Earth's atmosphere in 150 days. And it also created the largest vortex ever
observed in the troposphere of Saturn, expanding up to 7,500 miles [12,000 kilometers] across."
edit on 31-1-2013 by MariaLida because: (no reason given)