There's a massive hurricane hovering over Saturn's North Pole

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

With clouds the size of Texas and wind speeds that reach 330 miles per hour, Saturn's newly discovered hurricane is what you might call a whopper. The storm's eye spans 1,250 miles, a distance 20 times that of the largest recorded storms on Earth. (And there are such storms on Earth.) Unlike Jupiter's great red spot — which is a massive, persistent anticyclonic storm — Saturn's polar hurricane is just that: a hurricane. One which is very similar to those we experience here on Earth.

Just one thing: it's stuck at the planet's North Pole, which is why we haven't been able to see it until now. The Cassini spacecraft, which ultimately discovered the storm, has been circling the ringed planet since 2004. It was then that scientists first became aware of a storm's presence at the pole.

But Saturn, it turns out, has seasons much like those experienced in Westeros. Because it took five years for the Saturnine spring to arrive, the planet's North Pole didn't come into the light of the Sun, and thus into Cassini's view, until now. The wait was well worth it, though. We finally have images of the storm that has been raging there for so many years.

The massive hurricane is currently undergoing further study and scientists would certainly love to know what makes such a weather system occur, especially considering that Saturn's atmosphere contains very little water, the chief factor necessary for the formation of hurricanes here on Earth. Watch the monster swirl in the video below.

Via Space.com

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