New research shows a never-seen-before feature of Saturn’s hexagon. The planet’s hexagon is nothing but a whirling storm that troubles the north pole. The perfectly-shaped hexagon is an ever-present cloud that resembles a massive tower. It was identified for the first time back in 1980 by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. Now, we can take a better look at this phenomenon thanks to the Cassini spaceship, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017.
Why is the new research so intriguing? According to a team of researchers, Saturn’s hexagon pattern is even more awkward. The geometric oddity has its system of hazes arranged one on top of another.
The Hexagon Situation
The team of researchers discovered that the Saturn’s hexagon has lots of layers of almost 4.3 and 11 miles. They believe that due to the rough freezing temperatures on the planet’s atmosphere, there might exist some iced crystalline particles made up acetylene, propane, and even butane in the cloud structure.
It isn’t the first time when such hazes have been identified and examined, but, with this research, the team have not only analyzed the layers. They also found that the hazes are vertically arranged in Saturn’s atmosphere, and the gravitational pull is the one to blame. And of course, all the help was provided by the Cassini spacecraft’s work.
“The Cassini images have enabled us to discover that the hexagon has a multi-layered system of at least seven mists that extend from the summit of its clouds to an altitude of more than 300 KM above them,” explained Agustin Sanchez-Lavega, the professor who led the research.
Back in 2015, Cassini’s primary camera shot high-resolution pictures of Saturn. They displayed accurately the hazes above the clouds in the hexagon. The discovery was also supported by the Hubble Telescope’s work, which also snapped a series of intriguing photos of the phenomenon.