Massive Saturn Storm Seen From Earth

Blizzard 5 times bigger than Snowmageddon
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2010 3:53 AM CDT
Updated May 3, 2010 5:40 AM CDT
In a image provided by NASA, the equinox on Saturn, when the sun's disk was exactly overhead at the planet's equator, is captured by the Cassini orbiter.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – America's "Snowmageddon" winter storm this year would be no big deal on Saturn, where an ammonia-ice storm at least 5 times larger—so massive and turbulent that amateur astronomers can see it from earth —is currently raging. NASA's Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn, is picking up data from the wild blizzard in the planet's "storm alley," but astronomy enthusiasts back on earth are also taking part in the Saturn storm watch.

"We were so excited to get a heads-up from the amateurs," said a Cassini scientist who received pictures of the storm snapped by an amateur astronomer in Australia. The top layer of the blizzard appears to be powered by violent storms as far as 124 miles beneath, where scientists have spotted lightning, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

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