An amazing new photo of Saturn's north pole puts the planet's odd hexagon-shaped jet stream and dazzling rings on display.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft exploring Saturn and its moons snapped the photo — which NASA released today (Feb. 3) — as the probe flew 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) above the ringed planet.
Cassini took its newest view of Saturn's polar vortex on Nov. 23, 2013, though the image itself was just released today. The hexagonal vortex is about 20,000 miles (30,000 km) across and is a jet stream made up of 200 mph winds (322 km/h) surrounding a huge storm, NASA officials have said. Scientists have not found another weather feature exactly like this anywhere in the solar system, space agency officials said.
"The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology, said in a statement in 2013. "A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries."