Behold: a vast hexagonal cloud formation over Saturn’s northern hemisphere. First discovered by Voyager in the 1980s and subsequently observed by Cassini, nothing like it has been found elsewhere in the solar system. To wit:
Acquiring its first sunlit views of far northern Saturn in late 2012, the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera recorded this stunning, false-colour image of the ringed planet’s north pole. The composite of near-infrared image data results in red hues for low clouds and green for high ones, giving the Saturnian cloudscape a vivid appearance. This and similar images show the stability of the hexagon even 20+ years after Voyager. Movies of Saturn’s North Pole show the cloud structure maintaining its hexagonal structure while rotating. Unlike individual clouds appearing like a hexagon on Earth, the Saturn cloud pattern appears to have six well defined sides of nearly equal length. Four Earths could fit inside the hexagon. Beyond the cloud tops at the upper right, arcs of the planet’s eye-catching rings appear bright blue.
— Joe Reilly (@JoeGalwayjoe) June 16, 2020
Enniscorthy, County Wexford.
A sky submarine?
We may never know.
Wow! Super photos of same funnel cloud from facebook follower Cathy O’Donoghue Donovan. It may have touched land and then become a Tornado! Anyone else in area or Enniscorthy witness it? pic.twitter.com/FQYBlnCrWB
— Carlow Weather (@CarlowWeather) June 16, 2020
Yep saw it from the other side it looks like! pic.twitter.com/bqMCgM6cw4
— Damian Rossiter (@roosterali23) June 16, 2020
Annd, it’s a funnel cloud.
Surrounding cloud patterns show the Abyss to be at the center of a vortex. Since dark features on Jupiter’s atmosphere tend to run deeper than light features, the Abyss may really be the deep hole that it appears — but without more evidence that remains conjecture. The Abyss is surrounded by a complex of meandering clouds and other swirling storm systems, some of which are topped by light coloured, high-altitude clouds. The featured image was captured last month while Juno passed only about 15,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The next close pass of Juno near Jupiter will be in July.
Asperitas form in convective storms when the air in downdrafts (cooled by the sublimation of ice crystals) pushes through the cloud base.