The eye of Saturn
Earlier this month (August 4, 2014), NASA released this new image of Saturn’s hexagon – a persisting hexagonal cloud pattern around the planet’s north pole – taken by the orbiting Cassini spacecraft. The sides of the hexagon are about 13,800 kilometers (8,600 miles) long, which is longer than the Earth’s diameter. Measurements have sized the “eye” – the vortex at the center of the swirling hexagon – at a staggering 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) across with cloud speeds as fast as 330 miles per hour (150 meters per second).
The image above was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 2, 2014. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel.