CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke On Its Own Tail

Scientists see a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm sputter out after it churns around the planet and encounters its own wake. (Image advisory can be found here.)

Jan 31, 2013: Staring into the Vortex - A vortex that was part of a giant storm on Saturn slowly dissipates over time in this set of false color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft .
Jan 31, 2013: Great Disturbances - This set of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows cloud patterns in a band around Saturn before a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm erupted and again after the head of the storm had disappeared.
Jan 31, 2013: Swirling Vortex - This three-frame animation from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the swirling clouds in a vortex spawned by a great northern storm on Saturn.
Jan 31, 2013: Which Way the Wind Blows - This image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveals the wind patterns within a large vortex that was spawned by a giant northern storm on Saturn.
Jan 31, 2013: First Chapter of the Northern Storm - This mosaic of false-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows what a giant storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere looked like about a month after it began.
Jan 31, 2013: Northern Storm in Full Force - This mosaic of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the trail of a great northern storm on Saturn raging in full force.
Jan 31, 2013: Storm Head, Meet Tail - This set of images from NASA's Cassini mission shows the evolution of a massive thunder-and-lightning storm that circled all the way around Saturn and fizzled when it ran into its own tail.
Alliance Member Comments
kemcab2012 (Jan 31, 2013 at 2:39 PM):
Agreed, topaz. I immediately thought of Jörmungandr. Beautiful photos, especially under Great Disturbances, where the 2011 shots look like eddies in a stream.
topaz (Jan 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM):
It's an ouroboros!
ml39612 (Jan 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM):
Well, that's about what I'd expect when a durable cyclone migrates to the opposite hemisphere across the planet's equator. It WAS being maintained by something while it endured. Contradictions like that probably exist among the three different rotational planes- equatorial (for that planet), ecliptic (for that planet) and galactic (for the whole solar system. Two would be correct, the third is ignored or its polarity is inverted. Probably the Galactic was being ignored, or it was included but inverted.

The migration event signals that it has worked out a contradiction through some process (possibly triggered by human activity since the contradiction is probably very fragile) and the system flips into a state in which the odd rotational plane is ignored. Yet the migration caused increased stability and more consistent flow.

Now, some of Earth's birds migrate from North to South. Perhaps birds have not caught on to Galactic rotation. Some of Earth's cyclones SHOULD migrate, at least once...

Would that it would become possible to cause Earth's cyclonic storms to get their acts together that way.

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