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Patterns: Weird hexagonal vortex on Saturn  RSS feed

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Check out this weird hexagonal vortex on Saturn - a hexagonal spiral?

See more at Space.com: http://www.space.com/18674-saturn-vortex-hexagon-storm-photos.html

This colorful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon."



 
Dale Hodgins
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This looks like it may be computer generated. Where is it from ? Lots of weirdos posting mountains of quasi religious stuff about various planets on YouTube. Sometimes camera lenses cause strange effects. Other schools of non-thought, believe that vortexes can impart water with magical properties. Perhaps two geniuses met and this is the result.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Dale - thanks for calling that out. I put the link back to the source in the first post.
 
Burra Maluca
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I found this on youtube

This colorful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon." This infrared movie from NASA's Cassini mission shows the churning of the curious six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon."

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn's north pole.
This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude. Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system.

"The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades -- and who knows -- maybe centuries."

Weather patterns on Earth are interrupted when they encounter friction from landforms or ice caps. Scientists suspect the stability of the hexagon has something to do with the lack of solid landforms on Saturn, which is essentially a giant ball of gas.

Better views of the hexagon are available now because the sun began to illuminate its interior in late 2012. Cassini captured images of the hexagon over a 10-hour time span with high-resolution cameras, giving scientists a good look at the motion of cloud structures within.

They saw the storm around the pole, as well as small vortices rotating in the opposite direction of the hexagon. Some of the vortices are swept along with the jet stream as if on a racetrack. The largest of these vortices spans about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers), or about twice the size of the largest hurricane recorded on Earth.




Also an article on space.com - Bizarre Saturn Vortex Swirls in Stunning New NASA Video
 
Dale Hodgins
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Burra Maluca
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You guys might find this interesting.



sample download of The Self-Made Tapestry

The thing with bees making honeycomb isn't quite as straightforward as this suggests though. If the hexagons really did form just by squooshing bubbles together then the sides would be at random angles, but they *always* form with vertical sides, and the cells on the 'back' of the comb form so that the corners of the cells on one side coincide with the centres of the cells on the other side. The bees are probably following a very simple build-in algorithm along the lines of 'build down, build down again this far over, when it's this far apart join them so you can fit inside, build down from where they meet.'

I think with basalt it's down to the way cracks form fairly evenly over the whole area. Hexagons are definitely associated with 'space filling'. I love the way they form in pits of rising magma, too. Can't remember what they're called, and I've so far failed to find a good youtube video. I'm working on it, but I suspect that the way they form is going to have similarities to whatever is creating the hexagonal vortex on Saturn!
 
Burra Maluca
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I'd ignored this image several times 'cos I thought it was a close-up of a pineapple, but it's not.

"When a liquid is heated uniformly from below, it will spontaneously develop a pattern of hexagonal circulating cells. Here the cells are made visible by metal flakes suspended in the fluid"

The photo is from this page which has a collection of the colour photos from The Self-Made Tapestry. Which, incidentally, is an awesome if rather pricey book which leaves you with the feeling that pattern is still a bit of an unborn science and leaves you yearning for more. I think toby hemenway was working on a book along these lines. I hope he finishes it.

 
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