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This Is What Saturn's Biggest Storm Looks Like

It started off small, as a tiny blip visible to the probe taking pictures of the ringed planet. But the storm on Saturn that started in December 2010 grew quickly and raged on for 200 days making it the "longest planet-encircling tempest" to hit the planet in two decades, Space.com reports.

The following images were taken by the Cassini probe that chronicled the storm from birth to death.

Wired.com describes what we're seeing in the following image:

Red and orange colors in this view indicate clouds that are deep in the atmosphere. Yellow and green colors, most noticeable along the top edge of the view, indicate intermediate clouds. White and blue indicate high clouds and haze. The rings appear as a thin horizontal line of bright blue.

The head of the storm was captured in late 2010 (see below). It continued to develop eventually encircling the whole planet.

The below image, according to Wired, was created from 126 images using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers, which makes the color close but not exact to natural:

The head of the storm is near the center, and a train of vortexes appears as blue spots just to the south of the head. These blue spots are parts of the storm’s tail that have already encircled the planet and are approaching from the west. The blue color indicates they have some high, semi-transparent haze but no thick clouds underneath because there are no white or yellow colored clouds shown here.

Scientists look at false color images like this to study details about wind speed and depth of the storm.

Find more images of Saturn's storm here.

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