Late Late Night Open Thread…Storms on Saturn

Insomnia is a bitch…so feeling up for something to spark some wild dreams? Something wonderful to put you to sleep? Or, should I say something to put me to sleep…check this out.

Stunning Vortex on Saturn Swirls in NASA Photos  This is one big ass storm.

http://i.space.com/images/i/24022/original/saturn-vortex-storm-cassini-photo.jpg?1354128723

This spectacular photo of a polar storm on Saturn was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 27, 2012. It is a raw and unprocessed image.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Can you believe this photo was shot and sent via Cassini to Earth on the same day!

Amazing new photos from NASA’s Cassini probe orbiting Saturn reveal a dizzying glimpse into a monster storm raging on the ringed planet’s north pole.

Cassini took the spectacular Saturn storm photos yesterday (Nov. 27) and relayed it back to Earth the same day, mission scientists said in a statement. The pictures reveal a swirling storm reminiscent of the recent Hurricane Sandy that recently plagued our own planet.

The tempest is located in a strange hexagonal cloud vortex at Saturn’s north pole that was first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s, and sighted more closely by Cassini since then. The strange six-sided feature, which is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across, is thought to be formed by the path of a jet stream flowing through the planet’s atmosphere.

Science is a beautiful thing.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped this photo of Saturn's hexagon-shaped vortex on Nov. 27, 2012.
Saturn’s mysterious northern vortex, a vast hexagon-shaped storm, dominates this photo taken Nov. 27, 2012, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This image is a raw and unprocessed view.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Cassini, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, was launched in 1997 and arrived at the gas giant in July 2004. The probe has logged more than 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers), and made some major discoveries about the Saturn system, including revealing the presence of hydrocarbon lakes on the moon Titan and spewing water geysers on the moon Enceladus.

“Eight and a half years into our history-making expedition around the ringed planet and we are still astounded by the seemingly endless parade of new planetary phenomena,” the mission scientists wrote.

Good night…sweet dreams!