What natural process creates a hexagon in a planet’s atmosphere? There is a larger-than-earth hexagon at Saturn’s North Pole.
Conspiracy theorists have suggested the hexagon – which has sides longer than the diameter of planet earth – is an Illuminati structure, an alien spacecraft or even the gates to Hell.
And as bizarre as those theories are, scientists haven’t come up with much to beat them.
NASA’s Cassini probe even added fuel to the fire with its recent package of astonishing pictures and data from a visit to the ringed gas giant and claims there was life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
Scientists said warm subterranean seas beneath the inhospitable surface of Enceladus could be teeming with life – adding credence to the alien craft theory.
The hexagon also bafflingly changes colour from blue to gold.
Here are various images from our spacecraft, some colorized to enhance features:
… Saturn has a persisting hexagonal cloud pattern around the north pole, located at about 78°N. The sides of the hexagon are about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long. The hexagon rotates with a period of 10h 39m 24s, the same period as Saturn’s radio emissions from its interior. The hexagon does not shift in longitude like other clouds in the visible atmosphere. The hexagon was initially discovered by the pioneering Voyager satellite in 1981 but was later revisited by Cassini-Huygens in 2006.
Saturn’s south pole does not have a hexagon but Hubble observations suggest it does have a vortex, and there is also a vortex inside the northern hexagon.
A NASA spokesman said: “There is a massive hurricane tightly centered on the north pole, with an eye about 50 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. (More information about that Saturn hurricane is at PIA14947.) Numerous small vortices are also present, which appear as reddish ovals. Some of these vortices spin clockwise while the hexagon and hurricane spin counterclockwise.”
And – Andrew Ingersoll, of the Cassini Imaging Team, added: “The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable. A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades – and who knows – maybe centuries.”
The best evidence that this could be a strange but natural phenomenon is the fact that you can get hexagon patterns with just the right spinning currents in a dynamic system:
Video if the above here.
Here’s an example with a rotating bubble in microgravity when counter currents and air are added in the right way. The top is Saturn and the bottom the earthly water ball experiment.
Video here. This demonstrated possible explanation does seem to lower the odds of it being caused by an alien mothership.