The solar system's most bonkers storms
Storms on Earth aren’t just about clouds and rain. Sometimes, the Sun belches high-energy particles at us, and those particles interact with our atmosphere to create geomagnetic storms — better known as the aurora borealis.
In summer 2018, a dust storm engulfed Mars and lasted for months. Unfortunately, this meant NASA’s Opportunity Rover couldn’t absorb enough sunlight, and NASA lost contact shortly after the storm began.
This Saturnian storm lasted from the end of 2010 to midway through 2011. NASA’s Cassini mission, which explored the Saturn system from 2004-2017, captured the evolution of the storm.
Around Saturn’s north pole rages a 6-sided storm known as “Saturn’s Hexagon.” At the center of the storm spins a hurricane with an eye 50 times larger than what’s found on Earth.
Saturn’s moon Titan is the only other place in the solar system where it rains. Except that it rains methane. Here’s a weird stormcloud pattern that Cassini captured in 2010.
Earth isn’t the only planet with auroras. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have also spotted auroras on Jupiter.
Here’s an artist’s embellished image of Jupiter from NASA’s Juno mission, showing what bright lightning might look like on the gas giant. The Juno spacecraft has observed lightning storms at Jupiter’s poles.
Perhaps the most iconic storm in our solar system is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, which has raged for at least 350 years.