New video reveals fascinating details in alienesque hexagon on Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured the first high definition video of the mysterious Saturn hexagon. It shows some fascinating details and features never observed before. But now, more than even, it looks like some kind of living alien organism looked through a microscope—except it's not, because this monster is wider than two Earths.

According to the agency, this view of the Saturn's hexagon is the first "movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude." It's been possible to take it with such detail because the hexagon is now completely illuminated by the Sun.

We know what it is: "Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center." But how can this rotating spiral in the middle of an hexagon be a storm? How did it form? Why that shape?

We don't know this yet. We have learned new details, though, according to Kunio Sayanagi, a Cassini imaging team associate:

Inside the hexagon, there are fewer large haze particles and a concentration of small haze particles, while outside the hexagon, the opposite is true. The hexagonal jet stream is acting like a barrier, which results in something like Earth's Antarctic ozone hole.

Still, the fact is that we don't know anything like it in the entire solar system: "There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system. A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades—and who knows—maybe centuries."

It just looks to me like the planet is alive and this is its all-mighty eye.


SPLOID is a new blog about awesome stuff. Join us in Facebook.