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Hot Cyclones Churn at Both Ends of Saturn [GW?]
www.physorg.com ^ | 01-04-08 | NASA

Posted on 01/04/2008 8:20:00 AM PST by Red Badger

This image shows newly discovered "hot spot" on Saturn's north pole and the mysterious hexagon that encircles the pole. Image credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC/Oxford University

Despite more than a decade of winter darkness, Saturn's north pole is home to an unexpected hot spot remarkably similar to one at the planet's sunny south pole. The source of its heat is a mystery. Now, the first detailed views of the gas giant's high latitudes from the Cassini spacecraft reveal a matched set of hot cyclonic vortices, one at each pole.

While scientists already knew about the hot spot at Saturn's south pole from previous observations by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the north pole vortex was a surprise. The researchers report their findings in the Jan. 4 issue of Science.

"We had speculated that the south pole hot spot was connected to the southern, sunlit conditions," said Glenn Orton, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and co-investigator on Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer. "Since the north pole has been deprived of sunlight since the arrival of winter in 1995, we didn't expect to find a similar feature there."

The infrared data show that the shadowed north pole vortex shares much the same structure and temperature as the one at the sunny south pole. The cores of both show a depletion of phospine gas, an imbalance probably caused by air moving downward into the lowest part of Saturn's atmosphere, the troposphere. Both polar vortices appear to be long-lasting and intrinsic parts of Saturn and are not related to the amount of sunlight received by one pole or the other.

"The hot spots are the result of air moving polewards, being compressed and heated up as it descends over the poles into the depths of Saturn," said Leigh Fletcher, a planetary scientist from the University of Oxford, England, and the lead author of the Science paper. "The driving forces behind the motion, and indeed the global motion of Saturn's atmosphere, still need to be understood."

Though similar, the two polar regions differ in one striking way. At the north pole, the newly discovered vortex is framed by the distinctive, long-lived and still unexplained polar hexagon. This mysterious feature encompassing the entire north pole was first spotted in the 1980s by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Cassini's infrared cameras also detected the hexagon in deep atmospheric clouds early in 2007.

In their paper, Fletcher and his colleagues report that the bright, warm hexagon is much higher than previous studies had shown. "It extends right to the top of the troposphere," says Fletcher. "It is associated with downward motion in the troposphere, though the cause of the hexagonal structure requires further study."

Winter lasts about 15 years on Saturn. Researchers anticipate that when the seasons change in the coming years and Saturn's north pole is once again in sunlight, they will be able to see a swirling vortex with high eye walls and dark central clouds like the one now visible at the south pole. "But Saturn may surprise us again," says Fletcher.

"The fact that Neptune shows a similar south polar hot spot whets our appetite for the strange dynamics of the poles of the other gas giants," Fletcher says.

More information about Jupiter's poles will come from NASA's Juno mission, currently scheduled for launch in 2011 and arrival in 2016.

Fletcher's research was funded by the United Kingdom's Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The science team for Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Source: NASA


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: astronomy; catastrophism; globalwarming; hexagon; polarvortex; saturn; space
Too many jalapeños will do the same thing......
1 posted on 01/04/2008 8:20:02 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

i prefer the gases flow out


2 posted on 01/04/2008 8:23:20 AM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: Red Badger
The source of its heat is a mystery.

It's no mystery. Everyone knows that Saturn has elected republicans for years. It was only a matter of time before the oil-drilling, tax-cuts for SUV drivers, and military actions on behalf of Halliburton caused this kind of massive climate change. People of Earth must learn from the mistakes of the Republican party on Saturn.

3 posted on 01/04/2008 8:24:15 AM PST by VRWCmember
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To: Red Badger

The hexagon looks like a processing artifact.


4 posted on 01/04/2008 8:29:29 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Red Badger

Maybe it is a very large walled city.


5 posted on 01/04/2008 8:31:27 AM PST by mosaicwolf
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To: Red Badger

ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, SAVE EUROPA, ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS...

OH. MY BAD. WRONG PLANET. NEVER MIND.


6 posted on 01/04/2008 8:33:12 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob ("Those who "abjure" violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.")
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To: Kirkwood
The hexagon looks like a processing artifact.

Well, at least you didn't say you saw the Virgin Mary in there......

7 posted on 01/04/2008 8:33:20 AM PST by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: Red Badger
Seems very inhospitable.
8 posted on 01/04/2008 8:33:23 AM PST by BenLurkin
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To: mosaicwolf
Maybe it is a very large walled city.

Full of BEE people?...................

9 posted on 01/04/2008 8:37:14 AM PST by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: BenLurkin

Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.......


10 posted on 01/04/2008 8:38:17 AM PST by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: Red Badger

Bush’s fault?


11 posted on 01/04/2008 8:52:11 AM PST by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: Kirkwood
The hexagon looks like a processing artifact.

It's a shadow line. Those whacky yoots have stolen the stop sign again!

12 posted on 01/04/2008 8:58:25 AM PST by OSHA (Liberals will lick the boot on their necks if they think the other boot is on yours and mine.)
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To: Kirkwood
It's not, I've seen it in at least a half a dozen other photos in different colour bands. This is the Jet Propulsion Lab's release on this phenomenon.
13 posted on 01/04/2008 9:03:46 AM PST by AntiKev ("No damage. The world's still turning isn't it?" - Stereo Goes Stellar - Blow Me A Holloway)
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To: Red Badger

Beats the gas from Uranus.


14 posted on 01/04/2008 9:06:26 AM PST by Azeem (Only thing worse than war is peace at all costs.)
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To: Kirkwood

Alfven wave effect.


15 posted on 01/04/2008 9:33:59 AM PST by Steely Tom (Steely's First Law of the Main Stream Media: if it doesn't advance the agenda, it's not news.)
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To: Red Badger

With all the Iowa stories today, for a moment I thought this was an article about some Iowa State University co-eds.


16 posted on 01/04/2008 10:29:50 AM PST by rod1
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To: going hot
i prefer the gases flow out

Important as a general rule, but especially critical in the case of Uranus.

17 posted on 01/04/2008 10:32:53 AM PST by Petronski (Willard Myth Romney: 51% negatives)
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To: Azeem
Beats the gas from Uranus.

Laughing Hysterically in WV

18 posted on 01/04/2008 10:40:21 AM PST by DUH (roll your eyes at a liberal ... (they hate it worse than an argument))
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To: Kirkwood
The hexagon looks like a processing artifact.

Could you expand on that idea? I'm thinking you might be right.

19 posted on 01/04/2008 10:52:47 AM PST by InterceptPoint
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To: AntiKev
Hexagons are a pretty "parsimonious" shape -- they appear in nature a lot, as they provide the optimal "packing" arrangement.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that we're seeing the intersection between a series of longitudinally distributed high-latitude cyclonic disturbances caused by something like shear effects between atmostpheric layers, or something like that.

20 posted on 01/04/2008 11:03:50 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.


21 posted on 01/04/2008 2:19:27 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (Just saying what 'they' won't.)
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To: Kirkwood
IIRC, it has been a feature of Saturn for years.

If you listen to Art Bell's science advisor, Richard C.Hoagland...Hoagland was claiming the hexagon was a trans-dimensional portal about a year ago or so.

22 posted on 01/04/2008 2:34:56 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: AntiKev
Wow. Cassini has yielded SO much fascinating information.
23 posted on 01/04/2008 2:41:39 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: Beowulf; Defendingliberty; WL-law; Normandy
Evidence suggests the entire solar system is heating up. What do the planets have in common?
Is it anthropogenic greenhouse gas or Mr. Sun? ?

----------------------

The Electrical Heating of Saturn

----------------------

Global Warming on Pluto Puzzles Scientists
Robert Roy Britt
Space.com
October 9, 2006

----------------------

Global Warming Detected on Triton (moon of Neptune)

----------------------

Mars getting warmer, orbiter data suggests
Mark Carreau
Houston Chronicle
September 20, 2005

----------------------

Mars Emerging from Ice Age, Data Suggest>
Space.com
December 8, 2003

----------------------

Mars Ski Report: Snow is Hard, Dense and Disappearing
Space.com
December 8, 2001

----------------------

(Mars Global Surveyor) tracked changes in weather for four complete Mars years, the equivalent of eight Earth years. For three consecutive Martian summers, it showed that the polar ice caps were shrinking, suggesting a climate change in progress.

----------------------

Is there Global Warming on Mars?

----------------------

Global warming on Mars – without SUVs!

----------------------

SUV's On Jupiter?

----------------------

Changing Climate Revealed on Jupiter

24 posted on 01/04/2008 2:44:22 PM PST by steelyourfaith
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To: Red Badger

Definitely Bush/Cheney’s fault .......


25 posted on 01/04/2008 2:48:34 PM PST by Jackknife ( "The Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco, and Firearms should be a department store, not a gov't agency.")
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To: Kirkwood
It isn't. It is real.


26 posted on 01/04/2008 6:31:10 PM PST by burzum (None shall see me, though my battlecry may give me away -Minsc)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...

Note: this topic is from January 4, 2008.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

27 posted on 09/15/2009 8:15:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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