Storm on Saturn
The view at left was created by combining images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters, and shows Saturn in colors that approximate what the human eye would see. The storm stands out with greater clarity in the sharpened, enhanced color view at right.
The longest continuously observed thunderstorm in the solar system has been roiling Saturn’s atmosphere since mid-January and is still churning now, according to a presentation by a Cassini team scientist at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany.

A team led by Georg Fischer, a scientist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences has been using Cassini’s Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument to measure the powerful radio waves emitted by Saturn’s lightning storms. The radio waves from these storms help scientists study Saturn’s ionosphere, the charged layer that surrounds the planet above the cloud tops.

The most recent storm has evolved around the latitude of 35 degrees south, an area nicknamed “storm alley.” The previous record for observed storms also came from Saturn, when a different storm thundered for seven-and-a-half months from the end of Nov. 2007 until mid-July 2008 (pictured).

Representation of Lightning Sounds from Saturn
This audio clip was created from radio signals received by the radio and plasma wave science instrument on the Cassini spacecraft. This storm on Saturn occurred on Jan. 23 and 24, 2006. The clip compresses two hours of observations into about 28 seconds.Click to hear what a Saturn storm sounds like.

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