Photos (Click on thumbnails below if more photos are available)
Case File Information

Pasadena, Calif. -- An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with NASA's Cassini mission.

 

NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged the feature over two decades ago. The fact that it has appeared in Cassini images indicates that it is a long-lived feature. A second hexagon, significantly darker than the brighter historical feature, is also visible in the Cassini pictures. The spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.

 

"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."

 

The hexagon is similar to Earth's polar vortex, which has winds blowing in a circular pattern around the polar region.  On Saturn, the vortex has a hexagonal rather than circular shape. The hexagon is nearly 25,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) across. Nearly four Earths could fit inside it.

 

The new images taken in thermal-infrared light show the hexagon extends much deeper down into the atmosphere than previously expected, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) below the cloud tops. A system of clouds lies within the hexagon. The clouds appear to be whipping around the hexagon like cars on a racetrack.

 

"It's amazing to see such striking differences on opposite ends of Saturn's poles," said Bob Brown, team leader of the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, University of Arizona, Tucson. "At the south pole we have what appears to be a hurricane with a giant eye, and at the north pole of Saturn we have this geometric feature, which is completely different."

 

The Saturn north pole hexagon has not been visible to Cassini's visual cameras, because it's winter in that area, so the hexagon is under the cover of the long polar night, which lasts about 15 years. The infrared mapping spectrometer can image Saturn in both daytime and nighttime conditions and see deep inside. It imaged the feature with thermal wavelengths near 5 microns (seven times the wavelength visible to the human eye) during a 12-day period beginning on Oct. 30, 2006. As winter wanes over the next two years, the feature may become visible to the visual cameras.

 

Based on the new images and more information on the depth of the feature, scientists think it is not linked to Saturn's radio emissions or to auroral activity, as once contemplated, even though Saturn's northern aurora lies nearly overhead.

 

The hexagon appears to have remained fixed with Saturn's rotation rate and axis since first glimpsed by Voyager 26 years ago. The actual rotation rate of Saturn is still uncertain.

 

"Once we understand its dynamical nature, this long-lived, deep-seated polar hexagon may give us a clue to the true rotation rate of the deep atmosphere and perhaps the interior," added Baines.

 

The hexagon images and movie, including the north polar auroras are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://wwwvims.lpl.arizona.edu .

 

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer team is based at the University of Arizona.

 

Media contact: Carolina Martinez 818-354-9382

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

 

Source: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/cassini-20070327.html

Popular Articles
 
Comments
Order by: 
Per page: 
 
  • There are no comments yet
Facebook Comments
Other Case Files By this member
Description: I too have the same markings I’m scared and a little freaked out. I don’t know what to do. Can you help ? I woke up with this a day ago. Can you tell me what it is? Second Report by Witness: It was May 26 at 8 in the morning. My wife saw the marksand told me when I saw them I looked on…
96 days ago
Maricopa AZ, Maricopa, United States
0
Description: William:I saw the object by eye prior to taking the pictures. I was sitting in my Garden and just spotted something in the Sky . It was there for roughly 5 minutes. I went inside took my camera and took the photos. It was not until I uploaded them could I really see the object proper. …
94 days ago
Sofia, Bulgaria, Sofia, Bulgaria
0
Description: I took this picture on 05-29-2014 around 9:45 AM of a cloud in Miami, FL and this is what I got. Note from UFOs NorthWest: The witness apparently was taking photos of a cloud and found this object in the photo background. The object is of strange shape and appears to have a black trail…
93 days ago
Miami, FL , Miami, United States
0
Description: My sighting started out as one ball of fire. In a few minutes then it disappeared and then two balls of fire appeared and again disappeared. Seconds later in a different area another ball of fire appeared for about 5 minutes. Then it disappeared. Finally a very red looking ball of fire …
92 days ago
Palm Coast,, FL, Palm Coast,, United States
0
Description: My friend and I were driving south on Interstate 5 heading to AZ. We were driving next to an orchard on the right, when my friend started screaming: Shaun, Shaun look in the sky! I assumed to look way up into the stars. She immediately told me no it’s above us now, so I looked out the p…
93 days ago
Coalinga, CA, Coalinga, United States
0
Description: My wife and were driving home from the store going north when I noticed an orange-red object kind of hovering. I stopped in the turning lane and took so some pictures with my phone and then made my turn then immediately turned right into the driveway. I got out and wanted to take some m…
91 days ago
0
This is all of the information we have from the submitter: Allegedly, this video was taken from a passenger plane on May 25, this year. It was taken during morning hours over the city of London. (UFO Casebook Editor's Note: Most of the comments are very positive as the video approaches 10,000 view…
97 days ago
In a passenger plane, London, United Kingdom
0
Submitted by Henry Paterson to UFO Casebook There seems to be a recent increase in UFO sightings around the world, and one interesting one from Down Under. The Australian Transportation Safety Board has the following report. Near collision between an unknown object and De Havilland DHC-8, VH-XFX, …
164 days ago
Perth Airport, Kambalda, Australia
0
During Saturday's German Cup final at Olympic Stadium in Berlin between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, television cameras picked up a ghost-like figure on the pitch.   
105 days ago
Munich, Munich, Germany
0
Heilongjiang (ECNS) -- Three unidentified flying objects were spotted falling from the sky and landing in two places in Heilongjiang province about 6:00 am Friday, Chinanews.com reported. The Yi'an county government confirmed in the afternoon that Mengchang villagers heard a big noise and then saw …
106 days ago
Heilongjiang, China, Unknown City, China
0
Case File Data
Administrator
The Black Vault Owner/Operator
Starts: August 01st, 2013 4:17 PM
Ends: August 01st, 2013 4:17 PM
Location:
Space
Pasadena, California
United States
Location
Where did this happen?Space
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia
CityPasadena
Share This Case File
 

Support The Black Vault
Rate
0 votes
More Local Case Files
May 2014 - Originally published on May 13, 2014 from NASA live feed. Provided by Toby Lundh. (UFO Casebook Editor's Note: Since NASA went live with the ISS cameras, several of these types of videos have been captured by different individuals. This will be an ongoing process as long as the cameras s…
108 days ago
0
UFO Sightings Daily Note: This is an intriguing video and it has a chat area attached to a live cam. This cam catches everything that passes between it and the moon, from birds, planes, all the way to fleets of UFOs. Look at the enlargement above. These UFOs are moving faster than any bird, balloon …
131 days ago
0
Table of Contents Original News Article Official NASA Caption NASA Responds to Bright Spot on Photo   Original News Article What Is The Mystery Light On Mars? Distant 'Glow' Seen In Curiosity Rover's Latest Photo A strange white speck of 'light' on a recent photograph taken by Curiosity r…
145 days ago
0
Note from The Black Vault:  The image in this case file was discovered while digging through a massive archive of "raw" photos taken from the surface of Mars.  Many scour these types of photos to see what may be on the surface of Mars. In this particular case, BlackVault User: Willease (who credits…
205 days ago
0
Bizarre UFO Spotted By Robot On Surface Of MARS By Chris Richards, The Mirror A UFO has been caught on camera - by a robot on MARS. The bizarre celestial object, which looks like a spacecraft complete with vapour trail, was photographed by an unmanned Nasa rover at work on the surface of the Red …
214 days ago
0
Sept. 14, 2012:  NASA's long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers. Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop called Kirkwood on the western rim of Endeavour Crater differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed "blueberries"…
723 days ago
0
On February 14th, NASA Claims to have solved this mystery. Post your thoughts at the bottom of this page: Mars Rover Heads Uphill After Solving 'Doughnut' Riddle     Mysterious rock appears near Mars rover Opportunity An odd-looking bit of rock mysteriously appeared in front of Opportunity rov…
234 days ago
0
Surprise Ultraviolet Party in the Sky Original Caption Released with Image: Galaxies aren't the only objects filling up the view of NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. Since its launch in 2003, the space telescope -- originally designed to observe galaxies across the universe in ultraviolet light --…
3378 days ago
0
Spirit Sol 390, 14:06:38 Local Solar - NavCam, Left What are we looking at? On Mars, there should be nothing in the sky.  However, with this particular photo, there is, what appears to be, an object in the atmosphere of Mars.  It doesn't appear on other photos taken shortly after, which rules out d…
3225 days ago
0
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft captured these sounds of interstellar space. Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument detected the vibrations of dense interstellar plasma, or ionized gas, from October to November 2012 and April to May 2013.   The graphic shows the frequency of the waves, which indicate the …
358 days ago
0
Witnesses
Empty
Cassini Images Bizarre Hexagon on Saturn