Massive hurricane spotted on Saturn

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

These images of Saturn's south pole, taken by two different instruments on Cassini, show the hurricane-like storm swirling

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft has captured images of a massive hurricane on the planet Saturn. The storm is located on Saturn's south pole. This type of event has never been observed on another planet except for Earth.

"It looks like a hurricane, but it doesn't behave like a hurricane. Whatever it is, we're going to focus on the eye of this storm and find out why it's there," said Doctor Andrew Ingersoll, a member of Cassini's imaging team at the California Institute of Technology located in Pasadena.

The storm is approximately 5,000 miles across or roughly two-thirds the diameter of Earth and is stationary. The winds in the storm, which are blowing clockwise are reaching about 350 miles per hour and two spiral arms of clouds are extending from the center of the storm. Scientists say that the storm's clouds are anywhere between three to five times taller and larger than any clouds found on Earth.

It is not known what has caused the storm to form.