You think the East Coast has it bad with Hurricane Sandy? Scientists have determined that a massive storm that rocked the surface of Saturn two years ago—and, OK, that seems like a long time, but on a cosmic scale? Peanuts—was actually much worse than initially thought. As in, the storm raised temperatures in Saturn’s stratosphere by 150° Fahrenheit.
Says NASA’s Brigette Hesman, “This temperature spike is so extreme it’s almost unbelievable, especially in this part of Saturn’s atmosphere, which typically is very stable… To get a temperature change of the same scale on Earth, you’d be going from the depths of winter in Fairbanks, Alaska, to the height of summer in the Mojave Desert.”
The storm, first detected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in late 2010, started out as one of Saturn’s “Great White Spots” before engulfing pretty much the whole planet a few weeks later. By the time it dissipated in June of 2011—making it the longest-lasting storm on Saturn we puny, Earth-bound humans have ever been able to detect—it extended about 9,000 miles from north to south.
So while we’re dealing with the Frankenstorm, Saturn has had its very own Godzillacane. Not that there were any inhabitants on Saturn to be knocked around… that we know of.
(via: Yahoo! News)