Researchers from Harvard University under the leadership of Rakesh Yadava figured out the reasons for the emergence of a giant hexagon in the atmosphere of Saturn. A mysterious formation at the north pole of the planet was first discovered in the early 80s by Voyager devices, and since then scientists have been trying to explain the phenomenon. The hexagon is huge: it has about 25,000 kilometers across, about four globes can be placed on its territory.
Scientists have described a three-dimensional model of the atmosphere, which they tested in the laboratory. The analysis showed that the vortex forming a hexagon extends into the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers.
The model showed that latitudinal currents should be formed in the outer layers of the atmosphere of the giant planet that change direction and resemble those that are actually observed on the planet. At the same time, polar cyclones and a high-latitude current from west to east are formed at high latitudes.
“Analysis of the simulation showed that self-organizing turbulence in the form of giant vortices limits the eastern flow to form hexagonal shapes,” the scientists wrote. “We affirm that such a mechanism is responsible for the delightful hexagonal pattern of currents on Saturn.”