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Clearest View Yet of Saturn’s North Pole Hexagon
We just can’t help ourselves. Whenever NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sends back a new view of Saturn, we feel the unstoppable desire to post it. 
And this one might just beat them all. On Dec. 4, NASA posted a movie that is the highest resolution yet recorded of the planet’s strange hexagon weather pattern.
"The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology. "A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries."[[MORE]]
The hexagon is a six-sided jet stream composed of 200 mph winds encircling Saturn’s north pole. It is 20,000 miles across and has a rotating storm at its heart. 
Cassini recorded the movie over the course of 10 hours. The craft floated above the pole at an altitude that allowed its high-resolution cameras to capture the atmosphere above the pole down to 70 degrees north lattitude. The resulting images were analyzed in false color, like the gif above, to highlight details that would be difficult to see in true color.

Clearest View Yet of Saturn’s North Pole Hexagon

We just can’t help ourselves. Whenever NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sends back a new view of Saturn, we feel the unstoppable desire to post it

And this one might just beat them all. On Dec. 4, NASA posted a movie that is the highest resolution yet recorded of the planet’s strange hexagon weather pattern.

"The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology. "A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries."

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Saturn As A Jewel And The Earth As A Tiny Dot 

by Txchnologist staff

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been taking some amazing pictures of Saturn ever since it arrived at the gas giant in 2004. Here are two of the most recent, which are mind-blowing for their beauty but also for what they represent. 

The top picture was taken on July 19, 2013, when Saturn blocked the sun’s rays. The craft recorded the planet and its inner rings, seven of its moons and a little tiny dot in the lower right that is planet Earth. The image is actually a mosaic of 141 pictures taken by Cassini’s wide-angle camera. Click here to see the natural color image in full size

Cassini flew up above Saturn and looked back down to capture the lower image on Oct. 10, 2013. The picture is natural color, which means this is what Saturn would look like if you were passing by on a cruise of the outer solar system. At the planet’s north pole, you can see the standing weather pattern known as the Hexagon, which we have written about previously.  Click here to see the image in all its glory (hint: it’s worth it).

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Txch This Week: Panda Cam Returns, WiFi Goes Underwater, and Monkeys Have Conversations

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by Ysabel Yates

There were many transformations this week on Txchnologist. Wind turbines became self-aware, bicycles got smart and robots turned into bartenders. Some things did stay the same: Humanoid robots are still awesome, Geocities is still dead (although we did see it come back as a “digital Pompeii”) and we’re still bringing you the top science and tech news of the week.

Click through to see the developments we’ve been following.

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Plastic Ingredient Detected On Moon Of Saturn

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by Txchnologist staff

Perhaps the worlds beyond Earth aren’t so alien after all. Last week, Curiosity found water on Mars and, this week, NASA scientists announced that the Cassini spacecraft has detected propylene, an ingredient in common household plastics, on Saturn’s moon Titan.

"This chemical is all around us in everyday life, strung together in long chains to form a plastic called polypropylene,” said Conor Nixon, lead author of the paper and a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientist. "That plastic container at the grocery store with the recycling code 5 on the bottom - that’s polypropylene.”

This is the first discovery of a plastic ingredient anywhere other than Earth. It also adds to the list of reasons why Titan is similar to Earth, which includes twin nitrogen-rich atmospheres.

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