Image description: Massive cyclones, hundreds of times stronger than the most giant hurricanes on Earth, roil and swirl on the north pole of the planet Saturn. Taken from a distance of 250,000 miles by the Cassini orbiter, this view was aided by sunlight creeping over the north pole as the Saturnian seasons change.
Unlike hurricanes on Earth that are powered by the ocean’s heat and water, Saturn’s cyclones have no body of water at their bases. Yet, the eyes of Saturn’s and Earth’s storms look strikingly similar.
Just as condensing water in clouds on Earth powers hurricane vortices, the heat released from the condensing water in Saturnian thunderstorms deep down in the atmosphere may be the primary power source energizing the vortex.
See more from Cassini and Saturn.
Photo from NASA.
Image description: This collage of solar images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun’s surface and atmosphere. (The collage also includes images from other SDO instruments that display magnetic and Doppler information.) Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center.
Learn more about why NASA scientists observe the sun in different wavelengths.
Image description: The Cassini spacecraft took this photo of Saturn in December 2011 from a distance of approximately 1.3 million miles away. The scale of the image is about 77 miles per pixel.
Three of Saturn’s moons, Tethys, Enceladus, and Pandora, are shown. Tethys is on the right of the image, below the rings. Enceladus is on the left, below the rings. Pandora is barely visible. It appears as a small grey speck above the rings on the extreme left edge of the image.
Photo from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Image description: The flight mirrors for the James Webb Space Telescope undergo cryogenic testing at NASA Marshall.
Photo by Ball Aerospace.
Image description: Camelopardalis, or U Cam for short, is a star nearing the end of its life. As stars run low on fuel, they become unstable. Every few thousand years, U Cam coughs out a nearly spherical shell of gas as a layer of helium around its core begins to fuse. The gas ejected in the star’s latest eruption is clearly visible in this picture as a faint bubble of gas surrounding the star.
Image from ESA/NASA