NASA scientists using the Cassini spacecraft have witnessed a rare massive storm on Saturn that was so violent it sent the temperature in the planet's stratosphere soaring to 150 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
"This temperature spike is so extreme it's almost unbelievable, especially in this part of Saturn's atmosphere, which typically is very stable," Hesman, who also works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a press release.
Another thing that happened during the aftermath of the storm is that Saturn "burped" a great amount of ethylene gas.
"Ethylene, an odorless, colorless gas, isn't typically observed on Saturn," NASA explains. "On Earth, it is created by natural and man-made sources."
Scientists are still trying to explain where the gas came from.
1. Largest and Hottest Vortex Ever Seen in Solar System
On the surface, Saturn seems calm. But the appearance of the largest and hottest vortex ever seen in the solar system has astronomers thinking that Saturnís atmosphere has more going on than meets the eye.
The oval-shaped maelstrom was created when two warm spots in Saturnís roiling cloud deck merged. The subsequent storm was invisible to human eyes but shone brightly in infrared wavelengths. It was accompanied by an unprecedented temperature spike that released tons of energy, equivalent to an enormous planetary belch.
All this action is linked to the ďGreat Springtime StormĒ that raged through Saturnís northern latitudes over late 2010 and much of 2011. This global storm was the largest recorded tempest since 1903 and grew so large that the storm head traveled all the way around the planet and encountered its own tail. After the most visible effects subsided, scientists considered the storm over