Saturn's rings shine in Hubble's latest portrait

Saturn's rings shine in Hubble's latest portrait
The latest view of Saturn from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures exquisite details of the ring system -- which looks like a phonograph record with grooves that represent detailed structure within the rings -- and atmospheric details that once could only be captured by spacecraft visiting the distant world. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on June 20, 2019, as the planet made its closest approach to Earth, at about 845 million miles away. This image is the second in a yearly series of snapshots taken as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) project. OPAL is helping scientists understand the atmospheric dynamics and evolution of our solar system's gas giant planets. In Saturn's case, astronomers will be able to track shifting weather patterns and other changes to identify trends. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL Team

Saturn is so beautiful that astronomers cannot resist using the Hubble Space Telescope to take yearly snapshots of the ringed world when it is at its closest distance to Earth.

These , however, are more than just beauty shots. They reveal a planet with a turbulent, dynamic atmosphere. This year's Hubble offering, for example, shows that a large storm visible in the 2018 Hubble image in the north polar region has vanished. Smaller storms pop into view like popcorn kernels popping in a microwave oven before disappearing just as quickly. Even the planet's banded structure reveals subtle changes in color.

But the latest image shows plenty that hasn't changed. The mysterious six-sided pattern, called the "hexagon," still exists on the north pole. Caused by a high-speed jet stream, the hexagon was first discovered in 1981 by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft.

Saturn's signature rings are still as stunning as ever. The image reveals that the ring system is tilted toward Earth, giving viewers a magnificent look at the bright, icy structure. Hubble resolves numerous ringlets and the fainter inner rings.

This image reveals an unprecedented clarity only seen previously in snapshots taken by NASA spacecraft visiting the . Astronomers will continue their yearly monitoring of the planet to track shifting weather patterns and identify other changes. The second in the yearly series, this image is part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) project. OPAL is helping scientists understand the atmospheric dynamics and evolution of our solar system's gas .

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
This Hubble time-lapse movie shows the orbits of some of Saturn's icy moons as they circle the planet over an 18-hour period. The video is composed of 33 Hubble snapshots of the planet, taken June 19 to 20, 2019, by the Wide Field Camera 3. The closer the moon is to Saturn, the faster it orbits, according to the laws of gravity. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), the OPAL Team and J. DePasquale (STScI)

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Sep 13, 2019
Hexagonal shaped storm caused by a "jet stream".

Sep 13, 2019
Hexagonal shaped storm caused by a "jet stream".


Yep. There is a video on the interweb somewhere showing the same sort of thing in the lab.

Found it:

https://www.youtu...LY17ncWM

Sep 13, 2019
Thank you for your reply. I watched the video and read what they did, but I guess what they wrote just doesn't make sense to my simpleton brain... Maybe if they showed more than their "result" and showed his it happened from start to finish I'd be more inclined to buy what they're selling. Why doesn't Saturn's seem to move and theirs does? Why doesn't our planet or other planets have one also? I want a cool shape on Earth so we can be cool like Saturn!

Sep 13, 2019
Ah the rings, their delicate structure another stunning example of what gravity does, and also a good example of what electric plasma woo could never do...

Sep 13, 2019
@DumpStrJuice
try reading this page - http://www.planet...471.html

.

@Castro
Yep. There is a video on the interweb somewhere showing the same sort of thing in the lab.

Found it:

https://www.youtu...LY17ncWM
there are more places too - like the page from Emily Lakdawalla (May 4, 2010) in the link above


Sep 13, 2019
Gracias Capt! I appreciate the link/info!

Sep 13, 2019
@DumpStrJuice
Gracias Capt! I appreciate the link/info!
you're welcome

A physicist named @Q-Star posted that link here a few years ago regarding the storms on Saturn and I thought the information would be easier for most to understand, especially with the videos


Sep 13, 2019
@DumpStrJuice.
Hexagonal shaped storm caused by a "jet stream".
If you look closely at the video in @Castrogiovanni's link...

https://www.youtu...Iw4OQNXc

...you will see that the main swirl at the pole also induces further smaller harmonic vortices at the effective perimeter of the main vortex. These smaller vortices interact via their respective edges with the edge of the main central vortex's own peripheral 'boundary layer' streamlines, and that interaction causes friction-determined turbulence which breaks its outer streamlines into 'outer' vortices of the observed sizes and shapes...the interaction producing 'flat' or 'straight line' streamlines at the main contact regions...hence forming the harmonic 'hexagonal' pattern of the main vortex at centre. with each 'face' of that hexagon having its own induced vortex attached. The central vortex would be totally circular IF there were not the frictional/convectional interactions occurring as observed. :)

Sep 13, 2019
One thing I find interesting in all of this, is possibly the idea that what we are seeing we are explaining it via what we can see and maybe not what is all there. For instance, if something was causing the storm, the only reason you see the "storm" is because there is something actually there to be effected.
Like those old toys we used to play with called the Wooly Willy!
Like when you see those magnetic rope looking pictures of planets.. it makes me think maybe one of those ropes are actually touching the surface at that point, and the effect we see is a storm? Just a thought? I had the same idea that that could be what was making the storm on Saturn stay out there for so long...
That's just where my mind was when I put my skeptical comment up first. I have learned a lot so far from all of y'all's comments, thank you for taking the time, it is seriously appreciated!

Sep 13, 2019
@DumpStrJuice
...what we are seeing we are explaining it via what we can see and maybe not what is all there
like what?
Consider your question and examine it using scientific principles - https://en.wikipe...c_method

You've asked a question, now you hypothesize and build a way to falsify your hypothesis

then you test with observation, experiment, etc (steps just like the above link to Lakdawalla)

I also recommend taking some courses (free) to learn why [x] is dismissed or why something is done the way it is in science - https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

important notes for discourse:
1- verify everything (Source is important)
2- always ask for links and references to peer-reviewed journal papers
3- just because there is a website doesn't mean it's legit or even real
4- all science arguments are from evidence, and levels of evidence are important
5- http://wp.auburn....opinion/


Sep 14, 2019
...you will see that the main swirl at the pole also induces further smaller harmonic vortices at the effective perimeter of the main vortex. These smaller vortices interact via their respective edges with the edge of the main central vortex's own peripheral 'boundary layer' streamlines, and that interaction causes friction-determined turbulence which breaks its outer streamlines into 'outer' vortices of the observed sizes and shapes...the interaction producing 'flat' or 'straight line' streamlines at the main contact regions...hence forming the harmonic 'hexagonal' pattern of the main vortex at centre. with each 'face' of that hexagon having its own induced vortex attached. The central vortex would be totally circular IF there were not the frictional/convectional interactions occurring as observed. :)

Umm...NO...nope...nopesy...noooooo....nyet...

13 hours ago
@antigoracle.
..you will see that the main swirl at the pole also induces further smaller harmonic vortices at the effective perimeter of the main vortex. These smaller vortices interact via their respective edges with the edge of the main central vortex's own peripheral 'boundary layer' streamlines, and that interaction causes friction-determined turbulence which breaks its outer streamlines into 'outer' vortices of the observed sizes and shapes...the interaction producing 'flat' or 'straight line' streamlines at the main contact regions...hence forming the harmonic 'hexagonal' pattern of the main vortex at centre. with each 'face' of that hexagon having its own induced vortex attached. The central vortex would be totally circular IF there were not the frictional/convectional interactions occurring as observed. :)
Umm...NO...nope...nopesy...noooooo....nyet...
Looks like your bot-program has set your bot-posting sub-routine onto a 'multi-negation' loop. Oh, dear! :)

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