A long observation of the North pole of Saturn has helped planetary scientists from Spain to open a new type of storms that occur in the atmosphere of this gas giant every 30-60 years. They appear to be related to the mysterious “great white spots” in the Equatorial regions of the planet, according to scientists publishing in the journal Nature Astronomy referenced by TASS.
“We were the first to see such a large number of storms at different latitudes. Like hurricanes on Earth disappear within a few days, while the first swirl of this type, which we saw on Saturn, continued to be active for more than seven months,” said Augustin Sanchez-Lavega, a planetary scientist from the University of the Basque country in Bilbao (Spain), whose words are on sitewise.
About once every 30 years or once every Saturn year, astronomers observe the appearance of Saturn’s giant storms. In total, the astronomers recorded the appearance of seven of these vortices occurring in temperate latitudes, migrating to the equator and gradually covering almost all of the planet’s atmosphere. The last one was recorded in 2010, when even Amateur astronomers were able to see the “great white spot” is 15 thousand kilometers. In addition, at the poles of Saturn are much more likely to occur in less major hurricanes, whose diameter usually does not exceed two thousand kilometers. They disappear for a few days or weeks and not have time to grow to larger sizes and to penetrate other regions of the world.
According to the planetary, a year ago he was contacted by a fellow Amateur astronomer from Brazil, periodically watching the Saturn by using a home telescope. He found on the planet’s surface an unusual white spot located near the hexagon of Saturn, “the eternal storm” on the North pole of the gas giant. New hurricane were approximately two times more than a polar vortex, and disappeared in the first days and weeks of observations. Moreover, it was later discovered the three hurricanes that occurred closer to the hexagon than their first “fellow”.
Subsequent observations showed that these vortices were not in place, and migrated permanently, periodically approaching and interacting with each other and creating atmospheric disturbances that covered most of the planet.
How exactly experiencing these hurricanes, scientists do not yet know, however, they assume that they occur with approximately the same frequency and for the same reasons as the “great white spots”. This is supported by the fact that these storms occurred around the same time and on the same latitude as the “great spot” in 1960, saturnine, exactly two years after his disappearance.
Scientists believe that hurricanes are “average” sizes play the role of a “lost link” that connects a small polar vortex and Equatorial “great white spots”. According to scientists, further observations of Saturn and the opening of new polar vortex will help them confirm or refute this hypothesis and to understand, as there are some of the large vortices in the Solar system.
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