Monday, May 16, 2016

What was the biggest storm in our Solar System’s history?

What was the biggest storm in our Solar System’s history? (Synopsis):

“More days to come / new places to go

I’ve got to leave / it’s time for a show

Here I am / Rock you like a hurricane!” -The Scorpions
On Earth, category 5 hurricanes cause devastation wherever they make landfall, bringing sustained winds, rain, destruction and — in many cases — casualties. But despite how strong and massive these storms can be, they’re just peanuts compared to what happens on our Solar System’s gas giants.



Jupiter's great red spot (from Cassini, imaged in 2000) and Earth (imaged from Apollo 17 in 1972), shown together for size comparison. Image credit: NASA / Brian0918 at English Wikipedia.


Jupiter’s great red spot (from Cassini, imaged in 2000) and Earth (imaged from Apollo 17 in 1972), shown together for size comparison. Image credit: NASA / Brian0918 at English Wikipedia.
While Saturn’s north pole and Jupiter’s great red spot are powerful, sustained storms that are far larger than anything found on our world, a world-encircling storm on Saturn that raged for over 200 days from 2010-2011 broke all the records. At its grandest, it was large enough to contain 10-to-12 Earths.



Image credit: ESO/Univ. of Oxford/T. Barry, of Saturn’s 2011 storm in visible and various infrared wavelengths.


Image credit: ESO/Univ. of Oxford/T. Barry, of Saturn’s 2011 storm in visible and various infrared wavelengths.
Go get the full story — and learn when that record might be broken — on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!