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Saturn Belts and Zones - Windows to the Universe

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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is an image of Saturn in false color.
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NASA

Saturn's Belts and Zones

The striped cloud bands on Saturn, like Jupiter, are divided into belts and zones.

In a belt, the wind flows very strongly in one direction only. In a zone, the wind flows very strongly in exactly the opposite direction. These kinds of winds are called "zonal winds".

Measurements show that the winds of Saturn, within a belt or a zone can reach 500 m/sec (1100 miles/hour), but are usually 100 m/sec (225 miles/hour). On Earth, the most powerful winds during a hurricane can blow 100 miles per hour. So these winds of Saturn provide for a pretty rough environment.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF