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Old 03-28-2007, 08:50 AM   #1
Undertoad
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March 28, 2007: Hexagon on Saturn



Many sites are highlighting this today, and it's been a long time since we've had a space image.

The explanation at space.com is pretty good:
Quote:
One of the most bizarre weather patterns known 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.

The honeycomb-like feature has been seen before. NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged it more than two decades ago. Now, having spotted it with the Cassini spacecraft, scientists conclude it is a long-lasting oddity.

"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere, where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate, is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."
How big is it? (Hey, that's a personal question)
Quote:
The hexagon is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across. Nearly four Earths could fit inside it. The thermal imagery shows the hexagon extends about 60 miles (100 kilometers) down into the clouds.
As for me, I'm more concerned about the sideways skull that appears at the bottom of the image, near the middle.
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
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I don't know what it is but I'm sure we'll find a way to blow it up or exploit it's natural resources.
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
As for me, I'm more concerned about the sideways skull that appears at the bottom of the image, near the middle.
Argh! Wish I hadn't read that bit - it's a whole swirl of skulls to me now.

Last time I saw swirling skulls like that was after I'd sampled some interesting fungi
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sundae Girl View Post
Argh! Wish I hadn't read that bit - it's a whole swirl of skulls to me now.

Last time I saw swirling skulls like that was after I'd sampled some interesting fungi
I know a lot of interesting fun guys.
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
TheMercenary
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Very cool, thanks for the link.
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:52 AM   #6
piercehawkeye45
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I don't see the skull...
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Old 03-28-2007, 12:02 PM   #7
BigV
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It's spinning very quickly.
Quote:
The researchers found that once the plate was spinning so fast that the water span out to the sides, creating a hole of air in the middle, the dry patch wasn't circular as might be expected. Instead it evolved, as the bucket's spin sped up, from an ellipse to a three-sided star, to a square, a pentagon, and, at the highest speeds investigated, a hexagon.

...

Similar polygonal shapes have been reported in gigantic, vortex-like flows in the atmosphere of our planet and others, as well as in the eye of a hurricane. And an immense, hexagonal-shaped vortex was spotted by the Voyager spacecraft at the northern pole of the gas-giant planet Saturn.
No word on the skulls, though.
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Old 03-28-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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Hand me a crescent wrench.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:37 PM   #9
Shawnee123
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The skull I see is a cartoonish sort of skull making an "ooooo" sort of face; it's also a bit monkey-like. It's at about the 225 of a compass.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:45 PM   #10
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This is the skull I see. Alien skull.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:52 PM   #11
zippyt
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So thats where they moved the Thunderdome to !!!

Oh and I see skulls , and distorted faces ALL around the Hex ,
Could this be the tourtured soals that perrished in the Feared ThunderDome ????
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Old 03-28-2007, 03:35 PM   #12
BobT
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What do you call a mushroom that takes you out and feeds you drinks?...... A fungi to be with.
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Old 03-28-2007, 04:41 PM   #13
OB
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*shivers* Some of those skulls remind me of Munch's "The Scream".
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Old 03-28-2007, 05:13 PM   #14
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Hand me a crescent wrench.
Crescent wrench! No, you need a 25,000,000,000-mm 6-point socket, with at least a 3/4 inch drive and a really long handle.
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Old 03-28-2007, 05:18 PM   #15
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