12 Beautiful Recent Pictures From Saturn (And Its Moons and Rings)
Not unlike our own home planet, Saturn has been having some interesting weather lately.
Fortunately, the Cassini satellite was around to snap photos. For the better part of last year, a massive storm raged all around the planet's Northern Hemisphere. The scars left by the storm are visible in some of the recently-processed images we grabbed from the Cassini mission's website. The satellite orbiting the ringed planet even managed to capture a lightning storm so intense that it was visible on the sunny side of Saturn from a satellite.
How does it compare to earthly flashes of lightning? It's not too different, a release from JPL explains:
What scientists do know is that the intensity of the flash is comparable to the strongest flashes on Earth. The visible energy alone is estimated to be about 3 billion watts lasting for one second. The flash is approximately 100 miles (200 kilometers) in diameter when it exits the tops of the clouds. From this, scientists deduce that the lightning bolts originate in the clouds deeper down in Saturn's atmosphere where water droplets freeze. This is analogous to where lightning is created in Earth's atmosphere.
We also threw in a few photos of Saturn's majestic rings and chilly, pockmarked moons for good measure.Related:
10 Stunning Recent Pictures From Mars