In November 1980, planetary scientists eagerly examined transmissions received from the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it sped past Saturn. And with good reason! Amid those transmissions was the first image of Saturn’s North Pole – a region that’s virtually impossible to see from Earth, and, depending on the degree by which Saturn is tilted, can be cloaked in darkness for up to 15 years at a time (and you thought your last winter was never going to end).
"The longevity of the hexagon makes this something special, given that weather on Earth lasts on the order of weeks," said Kunio Sayanagi, a Cassini imaging team associate at the California Institute of Technology. "It's a puzzler on par with the strange weather conditions that give rise to the long-lived Great Red Spot of Jupiter."
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