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One of the most bizarre weather patterns in the solar system has been photographed at Saturn, where astronomers have spotted a huge, six-sided feature circling the north pole. Rather than the normally sinuous cloud structures seen on all planets that have atmospheres, this thing is a hexagon. For the full story Click Here . The photograph is amazing.


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That's incredible, and it's been there for at least a year.

(No. Can't be. It's just a film set for one of Stanley Kubrick's unfinished movies.)

"Once we understand its dynamical nature, this long-lived, deep-seated polar hexagon may give us a clue to the true rotation rate of the deep atmosphere and perhaps the interior," Baines said.
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Maybe there'll be enough data to run simulations.


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And maybe the nut cases will declare it a sign from an advanced civilization and that only they can understand its message that, miraculously, agrees with what their leader has been saying for years.

It is wonderful isn't it.


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It would sort of make sense if it were part of a whole series of hexagons, like a beehive, covering the whole planet. I seem to remember reading somewhere (sorry, my standard statement) that the earth's surface would have become this pattern if continental drift was totally random.

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Terry
"It would sort of make sense if it were part of a whole series of hexagons, like a beehive, covering the whole planet."

If it were, I'd probably be looking for the "bees" <g>

It's a wonder, of course, that it's a regular polygon, but even the fact that practically straight lines have been maintained within that turbulance is almost unbelievable. It brings crystals to mind.


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Rede. The idea is that if hot spots are rising with equal intensity and with an even spacing the most efficient way to pack them in is as hexogons. That's probably why bee hives are shaped that way rather than indicating there are bees on Saturn. Obviously if you've got one hexogon the idea becomes irrelevant. But there could be something similar we can't see acting on Saturn that has caused this effect.

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Yes, I know what you mean, Terry, and I agree with what you're saying. Although there are no visible adjacent hexagons, the stability of this one suggests that the dynamics causing it are also occurring in the adjacent surroundings.

"Obviously if you've got one hexogon the idea becomes irrelevant."

- I'm not so sure. Maybe this particular region has the necessary contents to create the visible formation, whereas the other regions don't. Something like a magnetic field being invisible, but it's presence being shown by iron filings.


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I've already seen one post on another group I frequent (a mailing list, actually) from a person insisting that the persistent straight lines are "proof" that it is caused by a gigantic artificial hexagonal structure beneath the clouds.

Let the crackpotting commence! Seriously, imagine what the tabloids are going to do with this. I'm almost looking forward to it.

Quote:
That's incredible, and it's been there for at least a year.


Actually, if I read it correctly, it's been there for at least 26 years! Even more incredible.

I understand the point about hexagonal structures forming when there are hot spots of equal intensity and even spacing, and that only the central one might be visible due to other cloud cover, but what dynamic could possibly cause a series of hotspots to be evenly distributed and stable for 26 years in a spinning gas giant?

w

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"Actually, if I read it correctly, it's been there for at least 26 years! Even more incredible."
- Yes, indeed. I hadn't read, "first glimpsed by Voyager 26 years ago." etc.
"what dynamic could possibly cause a series of hotspots to be evenly distributed and stable for 26 years in a spinning gas giant?"
- Right! Some people have had 26yrs to think about it, and are apparently still unsure. Nature is full of surprises.


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Originally Posted By: redewenur
"Actually, if I read it correctly, it's been there for at least 26 years! Even more incredible."..........
............"what dynamic could possibly cause a series of hotspots to be evenly distributed and stable for 26 years in a spinning gas giant?"


The big question is going to be, just what natural effect could be causing this Hexagon?
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, and it has 36 small moons. Strange multiples of six, dont you think?
However since its not a perfect Hexagon with straight sides. My best guess is that its a magnetic plus electrostatic field acting
upon the slower polar spinning rising gasses.
There only needs to be three equidistant fields pulling on a ring of gas, for it to assume a hexagon shape.
i.e Draw a circle, and inscribe 3 equidistant similar chords in the circle. If they are pulled out....(by a combination of cetrifugal+magnetic+electrostatic) the gas circle will increase in diameter and assume the shape of a hexagon.
Its 36 Moons, and Saturns unknown magnetic orientation at its pole must be producing the effect somehow?
Jupiters Red spot has been seen, ever since Herschel invented the telescope, and dont forget about the liquid lakes on Titan, one of Saturns multiple Moons. And especially dont forget the South pole of Saturn where this object:- http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061113.html

......has been around for thousands of years.
Saturn is a VERY strange Planet indeed

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"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
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Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer
Originally Posted By: redewenur
"Actually, if I read it correctly, it's been there for at least 26 years! Even more incredible."..........
............"what dynamic could possibly cause a series of hotspots to be evenly distributed and stable for 26 years in a spinning gas giant?"


......................>.............................> and dont forget about the liquid lakes on Titan, one of Saturns multiple Moons. And especially dont forget the South pole of Saturn where this object:- http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061113.html

......has been around for thousands of years.
Saturn is a VERY strange Planet indeed

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"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
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Update-
apparently after checking, there are no liquid lakes on Titan, at least not Methane, or Ethane.
But there is a large white or light continent that has been seen in its cloudless sky. These photo's have not been released yet.
More.
The study of all of Saturns moons is being undertaken by the Cassini-Huygens mission
Ever since the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, pierced the thick-dense haze of Titan's atmosphere, landing on its surface, suriving for several hours, and returned some stunning images.

The Cassini Saturn Space probe has undertaken to flyby most of Saturns moons, especially Titan, which NASA estimates it will fly past at least 45 times, sometimes as low as a few hundred kilometers from its surface.
Discoverys so far, -that Titan has an atmosphere 10 times denser than Earths, and very rich in organic material, has almost no clouds, and no evidence so far, of any lakes of Methane or Ethane on its surface, contary to first thoughts.
Since June 2004 Cassini has been manouvouring back and forth thru Saturns rings, photographing 21 of Saturns 36 moons, up to three times each. While Titan itself has been flown by 38 times. The last time being March 28th '07, (the other day).

Not all photographs of Saturn itself, have been published yet, it may be another six months before they are released.
Hopefully we may then solve more riddles regarding this amazing planet.

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"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
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"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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