April 16, 2007

From Michael Ricciardi:

Re: Hexagon on Saturn mystifies astronomers (March 27): It is curious, that the researchers quoted in the article do mention convection cells, but then refer to these cells (on Saturn) as being “circle-like”, and further, that “this was the last place we expected to see a hexagon”. . . Hasn’t anyone on the Cassini team ever boiled rice in an uncovered pot? After the water is mostly convected away (via rising steam), what results in the pot of cooked rice are numerous, hexagonal ‘cells’. This is a mundane example of ‘higher order re-organization’, or dissipation, brought about by the continuous flow of heat energy upward through the rice--from the bottom to the top. . . its a great example of “order out of chaos” (see Prigogine; ‘supra-molecular organization’), and I suspect that a similar activity is going on with Saturn’s polar region. It is likely that this gaseous planet IS so due to an active, high energy core that continuously (or over extended periods) produces excess heat, which, due to structural asymmetries in the outer regions, is convected via the one pole.


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