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July 2 2013

Diving Into Saturn's Cataclysmic Storms


If you ask people for the name of a planet which has massive storms, the first which pops into most peoplesí minds is Jupiter, with its great red spot. But Jupiter is certainly not the only gas giant with inclement weather. Our solar systemís second largest planet, Saturn, also shows some vast storms amidst its clouds, and theyíre no less dramatic than Jupiterís.

Once every Saturnian year (roughly 28 Earth years), Saturn is ravaged by storms so huge that they can be easily seen from Earth, over 1.2 billion km (745 million miles) away. Known as great white spots, these storms seem to coincide with Saturnís summer solstice, but being so infrequent, only a handful have ever been observed.

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