Home > Astronomy, Cassini, Saturn, Solar System, Spaceflight, Unmanned Spaceflight > NASA’s Cassini Watches Storm Choke On Its Own Tail

NASA’s Cassini Watches Storm Choke On Its Own Tail


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University

Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet about the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA’s Cassini mission describe how the massive storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself in this way anywhere in the solar system.

“This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane – but with a twist unique to Saturn,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, who is a co-author on the new paper in the journal Icarus. “Even the giant storms at Jupiter don’t consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a theme and surprise us again and again.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-040#2

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