NASA Spots Colossal Saturn Hurricane

It's bigger, more powerful, and longer-lasting than Earth counterpart

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2013 11:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – The hurricane roiling around Saturn's north pole looks a lot like a hurricane on Earth—except much, much bigger. Its eye is about 20 times bigger than Earth standards at 1,250 miles wide, and the storm is also more powerful, with winds as high as 330mph. A NASA probe caught pictures and video of the hurricane, giving us our most detailed look yet, Space.com reports. "We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth," says an imaging team member.

Rather than drifting northward as Earth hurricanes tend to, this one has been going on at Saturn's north pole since at least 2004. Another interesting point: It's "somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn's hydrogen atmosphere," the imaging team member notes. Scientists plan to study how it's doing that, which could in turn offer insights into Earth hurricanes.

In an undated in this false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft and provided by NASA/JPL shows stunning views of a monster hurricane at Saturn's North Pole.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)
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