Saturn’s North Pole changed color from blue to gold: NASA

Saturn’s North Pole changed color from blue to gold: NASA

A unique, six-sided jet stream surrounding Saturn’s North Pole has mysteriously changed its color from blue to gold over the past few years, images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft revealed.

The six-sided jet stream known as “the hexagon” is created by a semi-permanent hurricane that is located at the planet’s North Pole. It has been known to NASA scientists since the Voyager missions in early 1980s. But, the change in its color could be known recently, when the Cassini space probe provided new images of it.

While the images captured by Cassini in 2012 showed the hexagon in blue color, new images captured this year showed it in golden hue.

Project scientists estimated that the change in hue was likely caused by increased sunlight hitting Saturn’s North Pole. They explained that increased sunlight creates more photochemical hazes, which results into golden color.

The American space agency said in a statement, “The color change is thought to be an effect of Saturn's seasons. In particular, the change from a bluish color to a more golden hue may be due to the increased production of photochemical hazes in the atmosphere as the north pole approaches summer solstice in May 2017.”

The Cassini space probe has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, and the more than a decade old mission is expected to end in September next year.


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