NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured new and colorful photographs of the mysterious hexagonal storm near the north pole of Saturn. It is known simply as “the hexagon.” The above photo was taken from almost one million miles above the surface of the planet.
According to NASA, the storm is 15,000 miles across — as wide as two Earths placed side-by-side. Scientists were startled because, despite its hexagonal shape, the storm eerily resembles hurricanes on Earth.
These two photos show the storm with its natural coloring, unlike the older infrared images which you can see below. The two new images above are composites made by Gordan Ugarkovic and Val Klavans respectively using dozens of images taken by Cassini from the same location.
It took five years for Cassini to provide the first images of Saturn’s north pole because, when the probe arrived in 2004, the northern hemisphere of the planet was in, “polar winter.”
Scientists still do not truly understand the reason for the storms hexagonal shape. You can see more images from the Cassini mission over at Val Klavans’ flickr.