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New gif of Saturn's north pole. Who could have guess you could find perfect hexagons there?

Stashed in: Science!, The Universe, Awesome, NASA, Space, Gifs, Planetary Science, Astro

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It's a beautiful thing.

New view of Saturn from Cassini spacecraft. Notice the epic six-sided weather pattern around north pole. - Imgur

I not surprised to see perfect hexagons anymore than perfect spheres or other perfect geometries that seem to happen all the time in nature.

However I am always surprised to see their beauty, which never seems to fade...

Well sphere is pretty easy to explain, it's due to the spherical symmetry of the gravitational law. V=GM/r, means the effect is the same for an equal distance to a point, and when you draw all the points that are equidistant from a point, you get a sphere.But with this hexagon... good luck finding a law with hexagonal symmetry. ^o^

You mean V=GM/r is pretty easy for you to explain...

- V is a letter I chose to call the potential of gravity, how much a point in space is affected by it.

- G is the gravity constant, just there to make sure the theory fits the experiments, it's like this in our universe, it won't move.

- M is the mass of the body that generates the potential of gravity we are talking about, so a planet for example.

- r is the distance between the point where we want to know how strong is the gravity effect and the origin point of the gravity (like the center of a planet)

The only thing important there is that it depends on the distance r, so all the points at the exact same distance r from the center of a (perfect ) planet, will see the exact same gravity, and that defines a (perfect) sphere.


If instead of a random point in space, you want to consider the effect of the planet's gravity on another body with a mass m, you have the more well known gravitational force:

F(M->m) = G *m*M/r²

Gravitational force applied by the planet M on the body m = Gravitational constant * mass of the body * Mass of the planet / squared distance between the planet center and the body center

It still depends on the distance "r" so you still get  that all the points at the exact same distance r from the center of a (perfect ) planet, will see the exact same gravity, and that still defines a (perfect) sphere.


Is it easier?

hexagons are efficiencies in design... (honeycomb and the like) pressure equalization is apparently optimal with that polygon, we spoke previously about devil's postpile hexagons of columnar basalt scraped by a receding glacier.  on one of the many informational boards throughout the walk they mention that they have discovered this phenomenon with Saturn as well.  Cool stuff.more details on how and why are found here:

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