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NASA releases video of massive hurricane on Saturn (VIDEO)


A false-colored image of the hurricane at Saturn’s north pole on Nov. 27, 2012. Red indicates low clouds and green indicates high ones.



NASA has released a narrated video and colorized photos of a massive hurricane at the north pole of Saturn.

Filmed by the Cassini spacecraft, the video shows a hurricane with an eye about 1,250 miles wide and clouds swirling at 330 miles per hour at its outer edge.

"We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth," Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said. "But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn's hydrogen atmosphere."

Unlike hurricanes on Earth, which typically travel, the hurricane on Saturn appears to be locked onto the planet's north pole. NASA scientists said it’s likely the hurricane has been raging for years.

The new photos and video are the first good look we’ve had at Saturn's north pole since NASA's Voyager 2 took some snaps in 1981. When Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004, it was winter at its north pole and the surface was in darkness.

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