Cassini spacecraft captures colossal Saturn storm.
The storm of unprecedented scale unseen since 1990 has been raging on Saturn for several months. Recently, this powerful atmospheric disturbance grew in size and intensity and now covers an area of four billion square kilometers. Since 1876, astronomers have observed only five such megastorms on Saturn.
The information transmitted to Earth from the station allowed scientists to assemble a small audio file posted on the NASA website. The “sounds” of Saturnian thunderstorms were derived from the data on the frequency and duration of radio signals that occur as a result of lightning bursts in the atmosphere of planets. Most of all, they resemble electrostatic interference, which people can often hear during lightning storms on Earth.
The observations also showed that thunderstorms can take place in both hemispheres of Saturn. The current storm is raging in the northern hemisphere, which has been linked with the change of seasons on the planet. Earlier, Cassini’s devices recorded storms only in the southern hemisphere.
“The weather on Saturn can be calm for many years, but then such storm systems can rapidly occur”, said Andrew Ingersoll, a planetary weatherman at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “In fact, this planet-wide weather disturbance is a one-of-a-kind storm”.