NASA snapped a new image of Saturn, and it’s a real stunner

Hubble Telescope Drops A Mesmerizing Video of Saturn’s Rings

Hubble Telescope Drops A Mesmerizing Video of Saturn’s Rings

According to the findings of the research that was recently published in Nature Astronomy, using the archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, scientists developed open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b's atmosphere.

Hubble observed Saturn on June 20, 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, at approximately 808 million miles away.

Saturn is, of course, the planet best known for its very visible, well-defined rings. "This gives us a magnificent view of its bright icy structure", ESA said.

Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens first identified the rings in 1655 and thought they were a continuous disk encircling the planet, but we now know them to be composed of orbiting particles of ice and dust.

Though they're not as dramatic as the layers visible on Jupiter, Saturn has visible "rings" on its surface, each distinguished by slightly different colors. The mysterious six-sided pattern, called the "hexagon", still exists on the north pole. The hexagon is so large that four Earths could fit inside its boundaries.

NASA ESA
NASA ESA

Other features, however, are not as long-lasting. A large storm in the north polar region spotted by Hubble a year ago has disappeared. Hubble isn't just snapping a beauty shot though: The portrait reveals Saturn's dynamic, turbulent atmosphere, including the "hexagon", a freaky six-sided pattern discovered by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1981 that is still present on Saturn's north pole, while the planet's iconic rings, which look like a phonograph record with grooves, remain stunning in space. Solar ultraviolet radiation drives these reactions, according to scientists, who explain that the haze covers lower levels of ammonium hydrosulphide and water clouds, as well as clouds formed from ammonia ice crystals.

Saturn's appearance changes with its seasons, caused by the planet's 27-degree axial tilt.

The planet is a lot closer to its star than earth is to the sun, meaning it only takes around 33 days to transit.

The exoplanet was first spotted in 2015 by NASA's Kepler spacecraft but analysis of data has revealed new details that have not been seen on a super-earth before.