Monster Hurricane Watch at Saturn’s North Pole

By MARCIA DUNN | May 1, 2013

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured stunning views of a monster hurricane at Saturn’s North Pole.

Saturn hurricane. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Saturn hurricane. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

The eye of the cyclone is an enormous 1,250 miles (2,010 kilometers) across. That’s 20 times larger than the typical eye of a hurricane here on Earth. And it’s spinning super-fast. Clouds at the outer edge of the storm are whipping around at 330 mph (531 kph).

The hurricane is parked at Saturn’s North Pole and relies on water vapor to keep it churning. It’s believed to have been there for years. Cassini only recently had a chance to observe the vortex in visible light.

Scientists hope to learn more about Earth’s hurricanes by studying this whopper at Saturn.

Cassini was launched from Cape Canaveral in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004.

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