NASA has released a new photo of Saturn, which reveals a phenomenon called Saturn Spokes. The Spokes were first photographed in 1981, by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft.
The Spokes are transient features that rotate along the rings. The ghostly appearance only persists for two or three rotations around the planet. During these periods, freshly formed spokes also add to the planet. The image shown above show the frequency of spokes are seasonally driven, first appearing in 2021. Saturn is titled on its axis like Earth, and has seasons lasting approximately seven years.
“We are heading towards Saturn equinox, when we’d expect maximum spoke activity, with higher frequency and darker spokes appearing over the next few years”Amy Simon, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
This year, the Saturn spokes appear on both sides of the planet simultaneously as they spin around the planet. According to NASA, they can stretch to longer than the Earth’s diameter.