Saturn shows off spectacular storm

NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned a stunning image of a hurricane on Saturn's northern pole. The shot (pictured above) was taken on November 27 and is one of the first views of Saturn's north pole lit by the sun.

The colors in the image are not the real ones. They represent projections of various wavelengths of near-infrared light. Red is used to represent low clouds, and green indicates high clouds.

Scientists don't know how long this storm, which has an eye that measures 1,250 miles across, with cloud speeds as fast as 330 mph, has been active. The last time the planet's north pole was imaged in 2004, it was in darkness.

According to NASA, images were taken with a narrow-angle camera on Cassini, "using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light."

Studying this storm may lead scientists to new insights about hurricanes on Earth.

Cassini is one part of the Cassini-Huygens mission operated by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

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