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Topic: Vortex

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft observes Storm on Saturn devour itself

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – 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 set of images from NASA's Cassini mission shows the evolution of a massive thunder-and-lightning storm that circled all the way around Saturn and fizzled when it ran into its own tail. The storm was first detected on Dec. 5th, 2010. That month, it developed a head of bright clouds quickly moving west and spawned a much slower-drifting clockwise-spinning vortex. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University)

This set of images from NASA’s Cassini mission shows the evolution of a massive thunder-and-lightning storm that circled all the way around Saturn and fizzled when it ran into its own tail. The storm was first detected on Dec. 5th, 2010. That month, it developed a head of bright clouds quickly moving west and spawned a much slower-drifting clockwise-spinning vortex. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft reveals vortex in the upper atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show a concentration of high-altitude haze and a vortex materializing at the south pole of Saturn’s moon Titan, signs that the seasons are turning on Saturn’s largest moon.

“The structure inside the vortex is reminiscent of the open cellular convection that is often seen over Earth’s oceans,” said Tony Del Genio, a Cassini team member at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NY. “But unlike on Earth, where such layers are just above the surface, this one is at very high altitude, maybe a response of Titan’s stratosphere to seasonal cooling as southern winter approaches. But so soon in the game, we’re not sure.”

This true color image captured by NASA'S Cassini spacecraft before a distant flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on June 27th, 2012, shows a south polar vortex, or a mass of swirling gas around the pole in the atmosphere of the moon. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

This true color image captured by NASA’S Cassini spacecraft before a distant flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan on June 27th, 2012, shows a south polar vortex, or a mass of swirling gas around the pole in the atmosphere of the moon. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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