Saturn's hexagon

Hexagonal cloud pattern around north pole of Saturn / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Saturn's hexagon is a persistent approximately hexagonal cloud pattern around the north pole of the planet Saturn, located at about 78°N.[1][2][3] The sides of the hexagon are about 14,500 km (9,000 mi) long,[4][5][6][7] which is about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) longer than the diameter of Earth.[8] The hexagon may be a bit more than 29,000 km (18,000 mi) wide,[9] may be 300 km (190 mi) high, and may be a jet stream made of atmospheric gases moving at 320 km/h (200 mph).[4][5][10] It rotates with a period of 10h 39m 24s, the same period as Saturn's radio emissions from its interior.[11] The hexagon does not shift in longitude like other clouds in the visible atmosphere.[12]

A closer view (2016)

Saturn's hexagon was discovered during the Voyager mission in 1981, and was later revisited by Cassini-Huygens in 2006. During the Cassini mission, the hexagon changed from a mostly blue color to more of a golden color. Saturn's south pole does not have a hexagon, as verified by Hubble observations. It does, however, have a vortex, and there is also a vortex inside the northern hexagon.[13] Multiple hypotheses for the hexagonal cloud pattern have been developed.