NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has taken astounding photos of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn’s north pole. According to NASA, the hurricane, which has been nicknamed ‘The Rose’, has an eye which is about 1,250 miles wide. That’s 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth, and about 12 times larger than the entirety of the UK.

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According to NASA scientists, the thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of the hurricane are traveling at approximately 330 mph, while the hurricane has created a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as the Hexagon.

“We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn’s hydrogen atmosphere.”

It is hoped that these Saturnian storms will help scientists determine how terrestrial hurricanes are generated and sustained.


Images © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI