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Huge Storm Spotted on Saturn
National Geographic News ^ | February 16, 2006 | Brian Handwerk

Posted on 02/16/2006 9:32:38 PM PST by neverdem

NASA has spotted an enormous thunderstorm on the night side of Saturn, the space agency announced this week. Radio signals suggest that the storm's lightning bolts are a thousand times more powerful than those that accompany Earth storms.

Though small storms are common on Saturn, tempests large enough to emit radio waves are rare.

The unusually powerful storm stretches some 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from north to south. It's located in a region of Saturn dubbed Storm Alley because of its high atmospheric activity (wallpaper: stunning Saturn image).

NASA's orbiting Cassini spacecraft picked up lightning-generated radio noise from the storm on January 23. But the craft was in orbit over the opposite side of the planet when the squall was in daylight and so couldn't capture an image.

The region of the planet experiencing the storm subsequently moved into the so-called night side, further complicating visual confirmation.

But a phenomenon called ringshine has illuminated the situation.

The planet's distinctive rings reflect enough sunlight to make atmospheric features, including the storm, visible even during the planet's night.

"The light on the night side of Saturn is brighter than a full moon here on Earth—even though [Saturn is] ten times further from the Sun—because you've got these rings everywhere just filling the night sky," said Andrew Ingersoll, a member of the Cassini imaging team at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Storm-seeking scientists also got a boost from amateur astronomers, who used their backyard telescopes to spot and confirm the storm while it was on Saturn's day side and out of Cassini's range.

"It's really the only [recent] large storm on the whole planet," Ingersoll said.

"It's in the right place and it appeared at the right time to match the radio emissions, so it has to be the right storm."

Scientists have not yet seen actual lighting flashes. They may be buried too deep in the storm's thick clouds, or they simply might not have occurred during the ten-second exposure Cassini uses to capture storm images.

NASA knows the lightning bolts are there, though, because they emit electromagnetic energy across radio waves, which Cassini can detect.

One reason such storms intrigue scientists is the ongoing interest in locating liquid water on other planets.

"As far as we know, lightning demands liquid water—that's one of the appeals [of studying the storms]," Ingersoll said. "We actually don't know how much water is down there on Saturn or on any of the giant planets."

"Saturn [weather] seems to erupt very suddenly, and this storm is one of those dynamic eruptions," Ingersoll added.

"It's great to watch the Earth go through its paces, but [Earth weather] is pretty narrow compared to the variety you see elsewhere in the solar system."


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: bushsfault; nasa; saturn; science
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NASA'a Cassini spacecraft captured this image of a rare and powerful thunderstorm on Saturn on January 27. The unusually powerful tempest stretches some 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from north to south. It's located in a region dubbed Storm Alley because of its high atmospheric activity.

Image courtesy NASA

1 posted on 02/16/2006 9:32:40 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Bush's fault.


2 posted on 02/16/2006 9:33:43 PM PST by Enterprise (The MSM - Propaganda wing and news censorship division of the Democrat Party.)
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To: neverdem
Huge Storm Spotted on Saturn

Bush's Fault!

3 posted on 02/16/2006 9:34:13 PM PST by p23185
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To: Enterprise

Great minds think alike! You beat me to the post.


4 posted on 02/16/2006 9:35:01 PM PST by p23185
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To: neverdem
Its a hurricane. Its more powerful than Katrina. I wouldn't like to imagine living on Saturn when it hits.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

5 posted on 02/16/2006 9:35:17 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: p23185

global warming is spreading.


6 posted on 02/16/2006 9:35:41 PM PST by ferri (Be Politically Incorrect: Support the Constitution!)
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To: Enterprise

Saturn warming up. Yep, mankind and especially Bush's fault.


7 posted on 02/16/2006 9:36:08 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: neverdem
Radio signals suggest that the storm's lightning bolts are a thousand times more powerful than those that accompany Earth storms.

Women, minorities hardest hit.

8 posted on 02/16/2006 9:36:36 PM PST by denydenydeny ("Osama... made the mistake of confusing media conventional wisdom with reality" (Mark Steyn))
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To: Enterprise

Where's FEMA?


9 posted on 02/16/2006 9:37:13 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: neverdem

I see Rove's hurricane machine has gone celestial.


10 posted on 02/16/2006 9:38:12 PM PST by chet_in_ny
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To: neverdem

I didn't do it! I swear!


11 posted on 02/16/2006 9:38:53 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: goldstategop

Global Warming!


12 posted on 02/16/2006 9:39:35 PM PST by jb6 (The Atheist/Pagan mind, a quandary wrapped in egoism and served with a side order of self importance)
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To: neverdem
NASA has spotted an enormous thunderstorm on the night side of Saturn, the space agency announced this week. Radio signals suggest that the storm's lightning bolts are a thousand times more powerful than those that accompany Earth storms.

That doesn't even compare to a lightning strike on Uranus!

13 posted on 02/16/2006 9:39:59 PM PST by Hoodat ( Silly Dems, AYBABTU.)
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To: neverdem

"George Bush doesn't like Saturn People..."


14 posted on 02/16/2006 9:42:16 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Islamofascists don't need cartoons. They're already caricatures.)
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To: neverdem
Don't worry, after the storm it will be a chocolate planet again.

Blanco asking for more money, cries.

15 posted on 02/16/2006 9:43:38 PM PST by Darkwolf377
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To: neverdem

Mega story, eh? Anybody seen Jim Cantori lately?


16 posted on 02/16/2006 9:44:00 PM PST by gov_bean_ counter (It is easy to call for a pi$$ing contest when you aren't going to be in the line of fire.)
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To: p23185

I knew I had to be fast!


17 posted on 02/16/2006 9:45:06 PM PST by Enterprise (The MSM - Propaganda wing and news censorship division of the Democrat Party.)
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To: Darkwolf377

Ya,I hope they got the buses moving up there.


18 posted on 02/16/2006 9:46:39 PM PST by CommieCrusher
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To: Petronski

Governor Blanco is blaming FEMA, and Mayor Nagin said someone better get there asses up to Saturn to start evacuating people and clean up any mess. He and other staff members are too stressed so they are taking a much needed R&R to the hot springs on Mercury.


19 posted on 02/16/2006 9:48:07 PM PST by Enterprise (The MSM - Propaganda wing and news censorship division of the Democrat Party.)
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To: Enterprise
Bush's fault.

Saturn is suffering the effects of Bush's refusal to implement the Kyoto Protocol!

20 posted on 02/16/2006 9:51:32 PM PST by JRios1968 (I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than take a ride with Ted Kennedy)
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To: neverdem

Looks like Santa in his sleigh without the reindeer.


21 posted on 02/16/2006 9:53:20 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: neverdem

Global warming on Saturn? It rings true.


22 posted on 02/16/2006 9:54:54 PM PST by Cyclopean Squid (History is a work in progress)
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To: neverdem

That's a picture of Santa Claus!


23 posted on 02/16/2006 9:56:51 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Bode would win gold if he was drunk and maybe stoned.)
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To: A CA Guy
Looks like Santa in his sleigh without the reindeer.

Yeah it does kind of.

24 posted on 02/16/2006 9:57:28 PM PST by Peace Is Coming
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To: gov_bean_ counter
LOL!


25 posted on 02/16/2006 9:58:10 PM PST by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
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To: jwh_Denver
Radio signals suggest that the storm's lightning bolts are a thousand times more powerful than those that accompany Earth storms.

Santa better be careful of those lightning bolts.

26 posted on 02/16/2006 10:00:52 PM PST by Peace Is Coming
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To: JRios1968

Even as we speak, David Gregory is embroiled in another rolling fight with McClellan about the conditions on Saturn. He is tired of not getting answers from the Administration.


27 posted on 02/16/2006 10:01:12 PM PST by Enterprise (The MSM - Propaganda wing and news censorship division of the Democrat Party.)
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To: neverdem

Is it series?


28 posted on 02/16/2006 10:01:51 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Hoodat

That doesn't even compare to a lightning strike on Uranus!
>>>>>>>

As long as it is yours and not mine I don't care how it compares.


29 posted on 02/16/2006 10:03:56 PM PST by RipSawyer (Acceptance of irrational thinking is expanding exponentiallly.)
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To: Fred Nerks; neverdem

Ping for comment!


30 posted on 02/16/2006 10:05:49 PM PST by Eastbound
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To: Peace Is Coming

It's nice to know Santa is on Saturn.


31 posted on 02/16/2006 10:20:41 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: neverdem
IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!!!
32 posted on 02/16/2006 10:24:38 PM PST by Dallas59 ((“You love life, while we love death"( Al-Qaeda & Democratic Party))
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To: Dallas59

Somebody was just saying on another thread how the MSM seems to be living on another planet. Guess we know now, huh? =)


33 posted on 02/16/2006 10:27:11 PM PST by Just Lori (Trying to reason with a liberal is like sucking spaghetti through a straw)
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To: Spanaway Lori

What did he know and when did he know about Saturn????


34 posted on 02/16/2006 10:29:21 PM PST by Dallas59 ((“You love life, while we love death"( Al-Qaeda & Democratic Party))
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To: Eastbound

"As far as we know, lightning demands liquid water— ..."

Not positively, surely, definitely, or even probably but 'as far as we know' ?

I wonder if anyone at NASA has ever seen what we call 'sheet lightning' in Australia. On a hot, dry day, in a cloudless sky, lightning flashes horizontally for hours...


35 posted on 02/16/2006 10:36:31 PM PST by Fred Nerks (Understand Islam. Read the Biography THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD. pdf link on My Page)
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To: Hoodat

Yeah, and what's happening on Uranus?

CA....


36 posted on 02/16/2006 10:36:36 PM PST by Chances Are (Whew! It seems I've once again found that silly grin!)
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To: neverdem

Global Warming?


37 posted on 02/16/2006 10:42:52 PM PST by weegee (We are all Danes now.)
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To: Chances Are

Uranus is burning.

Must be a muslim riot.


38 posted on 02/16/2006 10:43:26 PM PST by weegee (We are all Danes now.)
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To: neverdem

Guess I'll have to postpone my travel plans.


39 posted on 02/16/2006 10:43:39 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: WestVirginiaRebel

"Bryant Gumbel doesn't like white people."


40 posted on 02/16/2006 10:45:27 PM PST by weegee (We are all Danes now.)
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To: neverdem

There's a Richard C. Hoagland opportunity here for some bloviating. Hyperdimensional physics?


41 posted on 02/16/2006 10:46:23 PM PST by Miles the Slasher
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To: goldstategop

It's a SUPER DOOPER CAT 5 storm.


42 posted on 02/16/2006 10:47:18 PM PST by weegee (We are all Danes now.)
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To: neverdem
I thought I was missing one of my 45 adapters.


43 posted on 02/16/2006 10:47:52 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: neverdem
NASA has spotted an enormous thunderstorm on the night side of Saturn

Huh? The planet rotates one every 10 hours, more than twice as fast as earth.

44 posted on 02/16/2006 10:48:35 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: Hoodat
That doesn't even compare to a lightning strike on Uranus!

<rim shot>

Ouch, did I just say that? LOL, I didn't realize the double entendre until I wrote that down.

45 posted on 02/16/2006 11:11:19 PM PST by thecabal ("Now die monkeys and stop saying Muslims are terrorists,we are peaceful people!")
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To: 75thOVI; AndrewC; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; CGVet58; chilepepper; ckilmer; Eastbound; ...

I swear, if I see one more joke about the seventh planet...


46 posted on 02/16/2006 11:32:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Islam is medieval fascism, and the Koran is a medieval Mein Kampf.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I know what you mean, sometimes it seems Bart and Homer must be Freepers...LOL!

Tell me, what's your opinion on the 'lightning demands liquid water' theory?


47 posted on 02/17/2006 12:15:20 AM PST by Fred Nerks (Understand Islam. Read the Biography THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD. pdf link on My Page)
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To: NotJustAnotherPrettyFace

48 posted on 02/17/2006 2:46:17 AM PST by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
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To: chet_in_ny
I see Rove's hurricane machine has gone celestial.

Darn tootin'-- soon, we will control the Universe:




49 posted on 02/17/2006 3:32:20 AM PST by backhoe
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To: backhoe

oh backhoe, that's the best cartoon I've seen for ages, LOL! I'm stealing it immediately, hope you don't mind.


50 posted on 02/17/2006 3:48:45 AM PST by Fred Nerks (Understand Islam. Read the Biography THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD. pdf link on My Page)
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