Hexagon Jet Stream

Hexagonal jet stream over at Saturn’s North Pole. Source: NASA

If hurricane on Earth doesn’t sound horrendous enough for you, imagine the hurricane on planet Saturn!

Located on 78 degree North, Saturn’s hexagonal hurricane took its place on the ten most fascinating astronomical facts. The sides of the hexagon length about 13,000km each, which is longer than the diameter of our planet Earth! Scary, isn’t it? Imagine a hurricane that huge could sweep away our continents. Cassini is only able to give good resolutions of the hexagon in 2012 because of its orbit and the weather change on Saturn. The sun was said to clear out the haze at Saturn’s North pole due to the season change.

Color change at Saturn’s North Pole. Source: Wikipedia

One hypothesis proposed at Oxford University is the hexagonal shaped jet stream forms at a very steep latitudinal gradient of the atmospherical wind. Scientist have created similar shape of in the lab when a circular tank is rotated with different peripheral and central speed. The shape is formed due to the tubular flow of rotating fluids at different speed. I think this phenomena is very unique because the hurricane has been going on for more than a decade. Imagine having hurricane that long-lasting on Earth. I think it could wipe out almost all human populations on Earth.

READ MORE – Saturn’s Hexagon


4 thoughts on “Hexagon Jet Stream”

  1. The storms on the gas planets are so unbelievably hard for me to contemplate. Both this hexagonal storm and the great red spot are extremely long lasting, huge, and wildly dangerous, to the point that a single storm could engulf our entire terrestrial planet! I think it is a testament to the strength of our scientists here on planet earth that they can replicate and understand a storm existing on a planet completely unlike our own. Great post!


  2. This is really cool! It’s strange that a storm could last for over a decade. I think its also really cool that a spherical object rotating has the ability to create a clearly hexagonal shape because it seems like the jet stream should be circular. Would there be anything similar at the south pole of Saturn? What kind of conditions would be different at the south pole of Saturn to prevent the formation of a similar jet stream?


  3. Dang what a super turbulent force! The wind storms on other planets really sound (and seem) intimidating, that makes me glad that I am on Earth. Reading your post made me think of the storm which managed to engulf Mars. It all started with just one petite dust storm on one corner of the planet but it collected all the dust from the ground and atmosphere and poof! it swept out the entire Mars in just two months! What a robust power!


  4. Wow, this is such an eye-opening blog. I never imagine that there will be hexagonal hurricane. If such hurricane exists, I do believe that there might exist other polygonal-shaped hurricane that we have not discovered yet. Do you agree with me?


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