Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monitoring Saturn's Giant Storm

Hey Space Placers!

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been diligently monitoring the large storm on Saturn for nearly a year.

As described by NASA, "These brand new, full-color mosaics and animated movies begin with the storm's emergence as a tiny spot in a single image on Dec. 5, 2010, and follow its subsequent growth to a storm so large it completely encircled the planet by late January 2011. The disturbance, which extends north-south approximately 9,000 miles, or 15,000 kilometers, grew to be the largest observed on Saturn in the past 21 years, and the largest by far ever observed on the planet from an interplanetary spacecraft. Other instruments on Cassini have detected the storm's electrical activity and revealed it to be a convective thunderstorm. Its active convecting phase ended in late June, but the turbulent clouds it created linger in the atmosphere today."

"The storm's 200-day active period also makes it the longest-lasting planet-encircling storm ever seen on Saturn. The previous record holder was an outburst sighted in 1903 which lingered for 150 days. The large disturbance imaged 21 years ago by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was comparable in size to the current storm. That 1990 storm lasted for only 55 days."

The collected images and movies can be seen at, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.govand y include mosaics of dozens of images stitched together and presented in true and false colors.

Huge storm on Saturn

Sky Guy in VA

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