Saturn is in turmoil. What first appeared on Dec. 5, 2010 as small spot on the surface of the gas giant has become a mammoth storm that has raged over a large portion of its northern hemisphere. By the end of January, it had completely encircled the planet.
According to NASA, the storm is setting new records in terms of length and duration:
The storm's 200-day active period also makes it the longest-lasting planet-encircling storm ever seen on Saturn. The previous record holder was an outburst sighted in 1903, which lingered for 150 days. The large disturbance imaged 21 years ago by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and comparable in size to the current storm lasted for only 55 days.
NASA's Cassini Spacecraft has been following the 9,000 mile wide storm as it moves across Saturn's surface, snapping some spectacular photos along the way.
NASA's Ciclops (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory For Operations) program has just released these stunning images of the storm's development, tracking it from its genesis as a small blip to the massive mark seen today.
Be sure to also check out these detailed images of the storm taken earlier this year.