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Fraser
2007-Mar-31, 12:17 AM
New Cassini infrared images of Saturn have revealed one of its strangest features - a bizarre six-sided cloud structure circling the entire north pole. ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2007/03/30/hexagonal-structure-at-saturns-north-pole/)

GOURDHEAD
2007-Mar-31, 03:07 AM
There's a similar feature at the south pole of Saturn, although some have described it differently.

ajf87
2007-Mar-31, 06:22 AM
Ooooh! Reminds me of this:

http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/10/5/8/1
http://cjournal.concordia.ca/journalarchives/2006-07/feb_8/008625.shtml

ConceptJunkie
2007-Mar-31, 12:20 PM
It's the nut that holds Saturn together.

Seriously though, I can't wait to hear what theories the boffins at NASA come up with to explain this amazing structure. This is true science at it's best, when someone says:

How in the world could that possibly happen?!

And eventually we get explanations that not only make sense, but seem obvious in retrospect.

markg85
2007-Mar-31, 01:01 PM
perhaps saturn has a much thicker solid service after all..
wouldn`t surprise me.. i`ve seen so many stories of: "bigger than expected", "smaller than expected", "more dense than expected".. just go through the archives of universetoday :P

// funny
or it`s the big underground city of the "Caturnians" ;)
guess we are gonna see new movies comming: "Saturn attacks"

clop
2007-Mar-31, 01:15 PM
They say it's been winter at the north pole. The hexagonal structure is obviously an enormous snowflake.

clop

dougkeenan
2007-Mar-31, 02:18 PM
It looks like where the Allen key goes, to access the control mechanisms of the solar system.

youriens
2007-Mar-31, 05:36 PM
I wonder if anyone can use our current knowledge about the composition and properties of saturn to perhaps duplicate a similar structure climatologically but on a smaller scale in the laboratory. Say a rotating ball of very cold methane, ammonia, hydrogen, whatever makes up saturn's atmosphere.

antoniseb
2007-Mar-31, 05:54 PM
...but on a smaller scale in the laboratory. Say a rotating ball of very cold methane, ammonia, hydrogen, whatever makes up saturn's atmosphere.
That sounds difficult. How would you hold the ball of gas together? Saturn does it with a lot of gravity.

youriens
2007-Mar-31, 05:59 PM
That sounds difficult. How would you hold the ball of gas together? Saturn does it with a lot of gravity.

Freeze it, rotate it, then let it sublimate in a controlled chamber.

Isaías González
2007-Mar-31, 06:14 PM
It looks like Benard cells or convection cells.

The Benard cells are produced when a liquid (as water) is heated by the inferior side in a regular and smooth way. Instead of going up in a chaotic way, the molecules go up in a very ordered way. So, while some molecules go up in a laminar way through the walls of a hexagonal cell, other molecules go down in a laminar way through the middle of those hexagonal cells. Then, their heat is transfered to the air molecules and the heat is transported in a very efficient way.

This phenomenon is produced when the liquid is not too cool and not too hot. So, the other Saturn pole is too cool or too hot.

This phenomenon is named "autoorganisation" and contradicts the entropy.

youriens
2007-Mar-31, 06:50 PM
It looks like Benard cells or convection cells.


That sounds close enough for me. Forget the frozen ball. Can we now take our knowledge of Saturn and simulate Benard cells under that environment? Or would the appearance of Benard-like (perhaps) cells in Saturn's atmosphere tell us something new about the planet?

Edit: For the record, the reference stated that Saturn was moving out of it's winter and the north pole was starting to see sunlight. This fits well with the possibility the hexagon structure is somehow generated by convection currents.

Edit2: Suppose maybe not, been there since Voyager. It's a learning experience for me too.

blueshift
2007-Apr-01, 03:27 PM
It seems as though the structure does exist at the other pole according to the comments on the following scientist's blog.

http://entropybound.blogspot.com/2006/05/spinning-round-or-square-or-hexagonal.html

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-02, 01:11 PM
That sounds difficult. How would you hold the ball of gas together? Saturn does it with a lot of gravity.

It's been done for Jupiter. You don't need a ball, just liquid in shallow tub, and rotate the tub, with an appropriate thermal gradient to the center, which serves as one pole, with the rim of the container as the equator. The Coriolus forces work out just fine, when it was done for Jupiter it produced banding and an excellent permanent vortex (storm) at the Red Spot latitude. And I wish I could remember where I read about it, it was decades ago.

But hexagons!??

And wasn't one of the Jovian poles funny? Time for some reference digging.

Kudos to the team that took the image, it's terrific.

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-02, 02:25 PM
http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/63/11/pdf/i1520-0477-63-11-1294.pdf

Try this paper for polygonal hurricane walls on Earth.

edit: That's eye walls.

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-03, 03:40 PM
There is a good south pole Jupiter photo montage here.

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9gnMiAtcRJG17EA_CWjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NDgyNWN 0BHNlYwNwcm9m/SIG=12fngnm8h/EXP=1175700141/**http%3A//www.universetoday.com/am/publish/best_view_cass.html

If you bring up the enlarged version and look at it a little cross-eyed, maybe there's a hint of hex shape.

edit: And here's a pentagon for Earth's South Pole.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/34520main_jupiter4.jpg

cbacba
2007-Apr-03, 04:45 PM
It looks like where the Allen key goes, to access the control mechanisms of the solar system.

It looks more to me like the nut that holds saturn and its rings to the celestial orrey shaft. :)

cbacba
2007-Apr-03, 04:54 PM
It's been done for Jupiter. You don't need a ball, just liquid in shallow tub, and rotate the tub, with an appropriate thermal gradient to the center, which serves as one pole, with the rim of the container as the equator. The Coriolus forces work out just fine, when it was done for Jupiter it produced banding and an excellent permanent vortex (storm) at the Red Spot latitude. And I wish I could remember where I read about it, it was decades ago.

But hexagons!??

And wasn't one of the Jovian poles funny? Time for some reference digging.

Kudos to the team that took the image, it's terrific.


Shortest distance on a sphere is not a straight line. Nature prefers minimum path solutions. Looks to me like something external and powerful is affecting the shape - probably magnetic. Since the earth is preparing for its next magnetic flipflop, isn't there already a second weak S pole that's formed or is forming in the southern atlantic? What if saturn has several magnetic poles formed in that area - creating a field shape capable of causing the wierdness?

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-03, 05:06 PM
Shortest distance on a sphere is not a straight line. Nature prefers minimum path solutions. Looks to me like something external and powerful is affecting the shape - probably magnetic. Since the earth is preparing for its next magnetic flipflop, isn't there already a second weak S pole that's formed or is forming in the southern atlantic? What if saturn has several magnetic poles formed in that area - creating a field shape capable of causing the wierdness?

Ah, I'm voting for standing (macro) waves in the weather system(s). Too many years working on microwave equipment. Every time I see satellite movies of hurricanes, I think "Oh, backward wave oscillator, with no cavity walls!"

knealy
2007-Apr-04, 08:22 PM
I'm voting for an April Fools joke that got posted early.

cbacba
2007-Apr-04, 10:19 PM
I'm voting for an April Fools joke that got posted early.

If it were, it wouldn't be the most outrageous one that was believed or accepted. It isn't just a joke put here as it is found elsewhere.


Ah, I'm voting for standing (macro) waves in the weather system(s). Too many years working on microwave equipment. Every time I see satellite movies of hurricanes, I think "Oh, backward wave oscillator, with no cavity walls!"

Interesting notion but could such a situation create the forces necessary to put the clouds into that sort of shape against what should be massive forces which should be trying to put it into more classical forms of clouds and storms? After all, waves like to have interference patterns and curved wavefronts rather than apparently fairly straight lines.

knealy
2007-Apr-06, 05:56 AM
Not to mention corners! I know soap bubbles have them, but this seems too bizarre.

Interesting notion but could such a situation create the forces necessary to put the clouds into that sort of shape against what should be massive forces which should be trying to put it into more classical forms of clouds and storms? After all, waves like to have interference patterns and curved wavefronts rather than apparently fairly straight lines.[/QUOTE]

knealy
2007-Apr-06, 05:58 AM
Not to mention corners! I know soap bubbles have them, but this seems too bizarre.

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-09, 02:24 PM
(Snip)

Interesting notion but could such a situation create the forces necessary to put the clouds into that sort of shape against what should be massive forces which should be trying to put it into more classical forms of clouds and storms? After all, waves like to have interference patterns and curved wavefronts rather than apparently fairly straight lines.

Yes, see barred spiral galaxies. The bar, in particular, and the arms are waves moving through the gas, dust, and stars of the galaxy. Also, ordinary square waves, as I recall, are the sum of all the odd harmonics of a sine wave.

edit: And check the link on post #15

.

cbacba
2007-Apr-09, 11:38 PM
Yes, see barred spiral galaxies. The bar, in particular, and the arms are waves moving through the gas, dust, and stars of the galaxy. Also, ordinary square waves, as I recall, are the sum of all the odd harmonics of a sine wave.

edit: And check the link on post #15

.

I thought the bars and spirals were the the gas dust and stars of the galaxy orbiting around the center. We don't have enough observation time to really know what happens over time with the bars or what really caused them although I think Arp has something unique to claim about that topic.

As for square waves, they are a summed combination of odd harmonics. To truly be a square wave requires infinite bandwidth or for mechanical systems instant position changes. For more practical purposes about 10x the fundamental does a fairly decent job though. For most waves, electrical or mechanical, matter isn't traveling along with the wave.

The hexagon shaped cloud appears to be matter maintaining that shape over a time frame far in excess of what one would expect some total accident would take to dissipate. Perhaps there is some sort of accoustic boundary or standing wave acitivity set up to maintain the cloud with straight lines. It sure is weird.

Amber Robot
2007-Apr-10, 02:00 PM
Yes, see barred spiral galaxies. The bar, in particular, and the arms are waves moving through the gas, dust, and stars of the galaxy.

Actually, I believe that the bars are not simply density waves and are distinct kinematic features. Astronomers can see the kinematic signature of the bar in the velocities of stars near the Galactic center, and presumably in other galaxies as well.

One Skunk Todd
2007-Apr-11, 04:19 PM
I notice Richard Hoagland is now claiming he briefed the UN on this 15 years ago and also that he will soon be publishing a "major paper" about the hexagon.

http://www.enterprisemission.com/index.php

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-11, 04:49 PM
Actually, I believe that the bars are not simply density waves and are distinct kinematic features. Astronomers can see the kinematic signature of the bar in the velocities of stars near the Galactic center, and presumably in other galaxies as well.

Yes, I know, the jury is still out on bars and spiral arms. Glad to see you guys are awake.

Now, I have this invisible dwarf that keeps digging holes in my backyard. How do I get rid of him?

edit: And check the links on post #15 for geometric figures in cloud systems right here on Earth.

afterthought: Some long term polar centered weather and cloud maps for Earth could probably be constructed from existing data. If there are underlying hexagonal patterns, think how happy Buckminster Fuller would be if he were still alive.

cbacba
2007-Apr-11, 06:13 PM
Yes, I know, the jury is still out on bars and spiral arms. Glad to see you guys are awake.

Now, I have this invisible dwarf that keeps digging holes in my backyard. How do I get rid of him?

edit: And check the links on post #15 for geometric figures in cloud systems right here on Earth.

afterthought: Some long term polar centered weather and cloud maps for Earth could probably be constructed from existing data. If there are underlying hexagonal patterns, think how happy Buckminster Fuller would be if he were still alive.


I thought bucky was into triangles rather than squares or higher forms of less rigid notions. I heard him speak once. All I can remember of it was he seemed to talk about his grandkid for the whole lecture.

As fer spiral arms, I sorta like the notion that maybe they are rather transient and got squirted out from the core. Well, it don't sound as dumb as an invisible dwarf with mirrors. Oh darn, I fergot the smoke - that's gotta be where the real magic lies 'cause ever time the smoke escapes from some high tick 'lectronic toy - it don't work no more.

carbs_garbage
2007-Apr-11, 07:33 PM
i refuse to believe there isn't a picture with higher definition. i'll bet you would see an enormous alien hexagonal wall that blocks out the vicious winds from their city at the north pole, hehe.

Nick4
2007-Jun-07, 04:14 AM
Ooooh! Reminds me of this:

http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/10/5/8/1
http://cjournal.concordia.ca/journalarchives/2006-07/feb_8/008625.shtml

Nice sites thanks

Nick4
2007-Jun-07, 04:15 AM
Dose anyone else see the #8 and the #0 in the pic? Wonder what it means

hilary_155
2007-Jul-03, 09:48 PM
The Hexagon on Saturn is caused by vortices in superfluid helium.