Hurricane on Saturn a stunner

10:00 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
A false-color image shows the swirling clouds in the storm on the northern pole of Saturn.(Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
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By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

The international Cassini spacecraft team has revealed a hurricane engulfing Saturn's northern pole in images released on Monday.

Some 1,250 miles across, the startlingly large storm was revealed in first views of the ringed planet's northern pole as seen by the spacecraft this fall. The clouds whirl around the planet's northern pole at 330 miles-per-hour.

The planet's northern pole has become visible to the spacecraft with the arrival of spring, allowing sunlight to reach the northern half of Saturn. The storm is essentially a cyclone of wind in the atmosphere of the gas giant. Such storms appear common on gas giants, most famously the long-lived Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

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