Exploring the Solar System

Exploring the Outer Planets

What has Cassini discovered so far about Saturn?

Among the many discoveries made about Saturn during this mission, Cassini has found tremendous dynamic activity inside Saturn’s thick atmosphere, including thunderstorms ten thousand times more powerful than anything on Earth that form in huge, deep atmospheric columns about as large as our entire planet. Recently, an Earth-like hurricane—the first to be seen anywhere other than on Earth—was found near Saturn’s south pole. It was five thousand miles (eight thousand kilometers) across and packed winds of up to 350 miles (550 kilometers) per hour. Cassini has also measured substantial changes in the nature of Saturn’s atmosphere since the Voyager spacecraft first made measurements in the 1980s. This means that the planet is by no means a static system and continues to change and evolve.


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