• Corpus ID: 119422143

The Enigma of Saturn's North-Polar Hexagon

  title={The Enigma of Saturn's North-Polar Hexagon},
  author={Gerald E. Marsh},
  journal={arXiv: Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics},
  • G. Marsh
  • Published 30 October 2017
  • Environmental Science, Physics
  • arXiv: Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics
It has been suggested that the north-polar hexagon found on Saturn is an unusual Rossby wave. If this is to be the case, one must not only explain how a Rossby wave can be hexagonal in shape, albeit with curved corners, but also why it is hexagonal rather than in the form of some other polygon. It is possible that a spectrum of Rossby waves with different amplitudes resulting from the velocity profile of the hexagonal jet could contribute to its shape. 

Figures from this paper



A Wave Dynamical Interpretation of Saturn's Polar Hexagon

The effectively exact observational determination of the horizontal wave number and phase speed, applied to a simple model dispersion relation, suggests that the wave is vertically trapped and provides a diagnostic template for further modeling of the deep atmospheric stratification.

A hexagonal feature around Saturn's north pole

Temperature and Composition of Saturn's Polar Hot Spots and Hexagon

The thermal structure associated with the marked hexagonal polar jet at 77°N has been observed for the first time and both the warm cyclonic belt at 79°N and the cold anticyclonic zone at 75°N exhibit the hexagonal structure.


The Voyager flybys of Saturn in 1980–1981 revealed a circumpolar Hexagon at ∼78° north planetographic latitude that has persisted for over 30 Earth years, more than one Saturn year, and has been

The Ringed Planet

In September 2017, the Cassini spacecraft will point itself toward the surface of Saturn and end its 13-year mission of solving many of the mysteries of the ringed planet's system with a crash. This

A laboratory model of Saturn's North Polar hexagon

Planetary waves on a rotating sphere

  • H. C. Longuet-Higgins
  • Physics
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • 1964
Simple solutions are found for barotropic planetary oscillations of a fluid in a β-plane, both in the unbounded plane and in enclosed basins of various shapes. These are com pared with analogous

Tropopause-Level Waveguides

Abstract Jet streams located on the dynamical tropopause are accompanied by coaligned bands of enhanced potential vorticity (PV) gradients, and these bands can serve as space–time evolving waveguides

The Explicit Planetary Isentropic-Coordinate (EPIC) Atmospheric Model

Abstract We describe a new general circulation model (GCM) designed for planetary atmospheric studies called the EPIC model. This is a finite-difference model based on the isentropic-coordinate

Saturn Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics

Saturn inhabits a dynamical regime of rapidly rotating, internally heated atmospheres similar to Jupiter. Zonal winds have remained fairly steady since the time of Voyager except in the equatorial