Saturn’s mysterious hexapolar has a little brother | Science and Ecology | Dr..

It has long been known that a kind of very vast patch of hexagonal shape existed at the north pole of Saturn. Its exploration intensified as a result of the Cassini space mission, which NASA culminated in in 2017, when the probe plunged into the atmosphere of the distant planet.

Through the images obtained in this mission, it was discovered that the hexagon is in fact a huge polar vortex. Experts say he’s not the only one. “Saturn’s polar stratosphere favors the growth and dissipation of very wide hot vortices at -75° latitude”, study says Published in the magazine temper nature.

Discovery in the stratosphere of Saturn

The Cassini probe mission allowed scientists from the University of Leicester, UK to determine that “Saturn’s famous hexagonal shape is not always confined to the troposphere but can be repeated at higher altitudes – in the stratosphere – during spring and summer, creating another hexagonal structure over 300 km in length. above the cloud level.

The turbulent atmosphere of Saturn favors the formation of cloud structures

“The edges of this newly discovered vortex appear hexagonal, and very accurately reproduce the cloud formation pattern detected below in Saturn’s atmosphere.” Fletcher told meProject head.

The discovery raises many questions. But above all, scientists are now trying to determine how and why Saturn’s atmosphere produces hexagonal vortices, of different dimensions and at different altitudes.

It will also have to be clarified if the upper hexagon is part of the “big brother” located 300 km below, or if they are independent structures.

It won’t be the Cassini mission’s advanced infrared spectrometer that will solve these mysteries.

EL (IFL Science, Nature)

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