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The Storms On Saturn and Its Century Long Persistence; Know More!

The Storms On Saturn and Its Century Long Persistence; Know More!|PBS

A recent study reveals that, although not as vibrant as Jupiter, there are mega storms on Saturn that have a significant impact deep within its atmosphere and can endure for many centuries.

The Storms On Saturn and Its Century Long Persistence; Know More!|NASA

The Cassini spacecraft captured an image of a massive storm on Saturn’s surface on Feb. 25, 2011. The said storm had been detected in the planet’s northern hemisphere about 12 weeks prior.

The storm is said to be encircling the entire planet, appearing to overtake itself. Astronomers have also discovered traces of past mega storms on Saturn deep within its atmosphere, which indicates that similar powerful storms on Saturn have occurred hundreds of years ago. The dark stripes visible in the image are actually the shadows cast by Saturn’s rings.

The Great Red Spot is a massive storm on Jupiter that has been present for hundreds of years and is considered as the largest storm in the solar system, it is an enormous anticyclone spanning 10,000 miles in width. However, a new study conducted by astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, show that there are signs of storms on Saturn that also persisted for centuries.

The mega storms on Saturn, which is similar to hurricanes on Earth but much bigger; happen every 20 to 30 years. However, unlike Earth’s hurricanes, the cause of these massive storms on Saturn’s atmosphere remains a mystery. Saturn’s atmosphere primarily consists of hydrogen and helium, along with small amounts of methane, water, and ammonia.

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They discovered disturbances in the distribution of ammonia gas beneath the planet’s surface. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances on August 11th.

The mega storms on Saturn, similar to Jupiter’s Red Spot, resemble Earth’s hurricanes but are significantly bigger and stronger. The mega storms on Saturn are said to be experioenced roughly every 29 years, coinciding with the time when its northern hemisphere is tilted the most towards the sun within its 29-year orbit, EarthSky says.

The EarthSky listed 8 recorded sighting of storms on Saturn. These sightings of storms on Saturn were done by various observers, Asaph Hall in 1876, Edward Barnard in 1903, Will Hay in 1933, J.H. Botham in 1960, Stuart Wilber 1990, Erick Bondoux and Jean-Luc Dauvergne in 2006. The latest sighting was photographed by the Cassini space probe in 2010 to 2011, while in 1994; the storms on Saturn were studied by both ground-based observers and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Although the storms on Saturn can be observed, scientists are still not exactly sure what the causes of these giant storms on Saturn are.

READ MORE|Space News: Hundred-year storms? That’s how long they last on Saturn

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