Astronomy Picture of the Day

Storm Alley on Saturn

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#55750 by @ 03.11.2004 00:00 - nach oben -
Storm Alley on Saturn

What causes storms on Saturn?

To help find out, scientists commanded the
robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting
to inspect a circulating band of clouds
nicknamed "Storm Alley."

This westwardly moving cloud ring has been unusually
active since the beginning of 2004, spawning
white swirling storms and
dark storms ringed by sprawling white clouds all
cascading around the gas giant.

The rogue band, as well as part other parts of
south Saturn, were
imaged in
stunning detail
in a very specific band of
infrared light that passes through Saturn's
upper haze relatively unblurred.

The result was then digitally sharpened, showing more cloud detail
but creating fake image artifacts such as a surrounding ring.

Speculation on the nature of past
Saturn storms included
convective motions of small amounts of
ammonia and water, seasons, and shadowing effects of the
great ring system.

Although the above image provides data and clues, the power behind
storms still remains a mystery.

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