Spectacular view of Saturn's mysterious hexagon

Spectacular view of Saturn's mysterious hexagon

NASA's mission gets an unprecedented view of the biggest mystery of the ringed gas giant.

There are only a few things in the solar system that have received as many wonderful theories as the striking hexagon Saturn. From a strange porthole to another dimension (or the gate to hell), the conspiracy of the Illuminati (a message from God) and to the newcomers. This geometric shape, rotating around the north pole, certainly seems incredible ... but not supernatural. And in a new review by Cassini, we can understand why there are so many secrets.

The NASA spacecraft is in the process of transforming its position, approaching the ring. In April, he will change the flight entirely and “dive” through the plane of the rings. This will be a beautiful prelude to death after 12 years in orbit. “Suicide” is scheduled for September, but before that he will have time to fly through the ring planes 20 times to collect as much data as possible from this bold orbital trajectory.

In general, we will have more sites for review and these observations will help scientists better understand the atmosphere of the planet and add details to the explanation of what drives the hexagon.

Now the northern hemisphere is illuminated with light, providing surprisingly detailed images of the mysterious hexagon. A near-infrared view reveals a central polar vortex displayed as a dark circle. This vortex rotates rapidly, while at lower latitudes atmospheric winds slow down. Such a discrepancy leads to the appearance of small turbulent storms - whirlpools (some of them are shown in the image as dark gray circles in a lighter hexagonal formation). For the first time this strange feature was inspected by the Voyager mission in the 1980s. In the following decades, scientists tried to figure out what could have caused the creation of such a strange atmospheric flow. Although research is still being conducted on the formation of the hexagon and its evolution, scientists put forward a hypothesis: because of the turbulent nature of the atmosphere in this polar region, gases act as a rotating gaseous medium. In laboratory experiments, liquid beakers were placed in a centrifuge. Depending on the speed of rotation, turbulent eddies cause spontaneous formation of polygons. At the desired speed, a tiny version of the Saturn hexagon can also be recreated.

So there are no aliens. This is physics. True, a very interesting physics of the atmosphere, probably driven by hydrodynamics.

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