Saturn’s North Pole

These pictures of Saturn’s north pole were taken yesterday by the Cassini spacecraft. (Side note: my dad worked on the cameras for this spacecraft.)

Notice the hexagon of clouds around the north pole and the rings in the background.  Clouds don’t usually form hexagons, and this hexagon is stable.  We first saw it in 1980 when the Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by (another project my dad worked on).  Here’s a good explanation of how the hexagon is formed and maintained.

Saturn's north polar hexagon and rings (raw image)

The next picture is a close up of the center vortex of the previous picture.

Raw image of Saturn's north polar vortex

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