Thanks to the recent insane cold snap, which brought bone-chilling temperatures to most of North America, the term “polar vortex” has gotten a lot of media play lately. As it happens Earth isn’t the only planet where the phenomenon of cyclonic storms at the polar region occur. Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are also known to have them.
The above image shows just such a vortex at Saturn’s north pole. It was taken by the Cassini space probe, which has been orbiting the ringed planet for the last nine years. It’s a false-colour image, so the storm isn’t quite as dramatic as depicted in this NASA image, but measuring around 2000 km across and with wind speeds of 525 kph the storm is still pretty impressive.
You can read more about the Cassini mission, and see more great photos of Saturn, its rings and its moons in this The Atlantic article.