Saturn’s North Pole Mystery Looks Like Hexagon

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Saturn’s north polar hexagon basks in the Sun’s light now that spring has come to the northern hemisphere. Many smaller storms dot the north polar region and Saturn’s signature rings, which appear to disappear on account of Saturn’s shadow, put in an appearance in the background.

The image here was taken with the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 750 nanometers.

Saturn’s north polar hexagon basks in the Sun’s light now that spring has come to the northern hemisphere. Many smaller storms dot the north polar region and Saturn’s signature rings, which appear to disappear on account of Saturn’s shadow, put in an appearance in the background.

Saturns North Polar Hexagon
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 403,000 miles (649,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a SunSaturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 21 degrees. Image scale is 22 miles (35 kilometers) per pixel. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 403,000 miles (649,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 21 degrees. Image scale is 22 miles (35 kilometers) per pixel.

Saturn’s Visible Hexagon

Saturn has been fairly insignificant, until the Cassini spacecraft flew by and took a few pictures. Saturn’s ‘Hexagon’ had been unknown to all, being almost hidden for all the years of telescopic observation. With solar orbits of Saturn taking 130 plus years to coincide perfectly, the north polar hexagon is directly in the light now with spring in the northern hemisphere. Cassini took some pictures of a spot directly on the North Pole of Saturn showing this perfect hexagon.

That’s an equally six-sided figure, or six well-defined sides of nearly equal length. The bizarre cloud pattern is shown above by a recent image taken by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. Originally discovered during the Voyager missions, it was an anomaly found by flybys in the 1980’s. Nothing like it has been seen anywhere in our Solar System. Various images show the stability of the hexagon for at least 25 years after Voyager. Movies of Saturn’s North Pole demonstrate the clouds maintaining its hexagonal structure while still rotating.

Humongous Hexagon

It also appears to be in sync with the planet’s quick 10-and-a-half-hour rotation. But the north polar hexagon is illuminated with Spring light in the northern hemisphere after 130 years. The hexagon appears to have remained fixed with Saturn’s rotation rate since first seen by Voyager 26 years ago. The actual rotation rate of Saturn is still in question.

Questions immediately arose about clouds forming a hexagon on Saturn. Nobody’s been there in person, so nobody knows for sure. From approximate measurements, this cloud pattern could easily have four earth-diameters within the hexagon.

Science Reasoning Interferes

But science usually seems to come up with answers. John Stuart Reid (CymaGlyph Demos/Smithsonian) dealing with Cymatics, is convinced he had a working hypothesis. Reid believes a massive eruptive event has sent a continuous stream of sub-Extremely Low Frequency (sub-E.L.F.) sonic energy toward the surface of Saturn.

When this energy reached the atmosphere’s outer layers (methane and helium clouds), it stabilized into hexagonal(six-sided) geometry-or a cymatic form. He believes frequency of the sonic energy is key in determining shape of the low-pressure area in which clouds form. This may be nature’s largest cymatic feature.

Information fed into a CymaScope makes sounds visible by imprinting them on the surface of ultra-pure water. It turns the sound to periodic wavelets, allowing sound ‘visibility.’

Laboratory Results Reported

Better yet, physicists (University of Oxford) have recreated the hexagon in the lab. Emily Lakdawalla | The Planetary Society, has infused the best hypothesis to date. On 5/2010, Lakdawalla had the best explanation of Saturn’s north polar hexagon. She stated it involved the speeds of winds in Saturn’s atmosphere. Saturn’s wind speeds change with latitude, with strongest speeds at the pole (1350 ft/s). But it’s supposedly the gradient, or steep contrasts in wind speeds causing the interaction.

These major differences generate weird atmospheric features, including wave-like disturbances. Driving the idea of gradients making the hexagonal wave, the laboratory was the best demonstration point. With a cylindrical tank, its lid and base were split into two concentric sections. The inner and outer circles are rotated at different rates, which set up an instability at their boundary, producing a standing wave.

Another Hand?

Depending on conditions, the waves evolved chaotically or sometimes quite stably. There were as few as two, or as many as eight waves produced. Turbulent flow of this liquid produced optical hexagons, septagons, and ovals. One should get many polygonal shapes appearing near the poles of planets with deep atmospheres.

One must question this occurrence, however. Why only a hexagon? Why did the pole continue to hold that shape for over 25 years? Wind speeds and atmospheric conditions are constantly changing over that time, and throughout history. Even if these scientific predictions continually occur, is the regularity, shape, specific number of sides, and planetary position of the anomaly trying to relay a message?

One thing is certain. There is a God, and He’s telling us something we may not comprehend yet. It’s only a matter of time…we think.