Thanks to Rich for this link.
When scientists monitoring the Voyager Mission first discovered a hexagon on Saturn (here’s an article I wrote on the subject back in 2007), it was an astonishing event. Now researchers in Oxford appear to have duplicated this phenomenon in the lab:
The Oxford researchers made a model of Saturn’s North Pole. A slowly-spinning cylinder of water represented Saturn’s atmosphere, and a small, rapidly-spinning ring represented a jet stream. They added some fluorescent green dye, and got a pretty well-defined hexagon.
By playing with the speed of the ring, the researchers could make nearly any shape that they wanted. The greater the difference in speed between the water and the ring, the fewer sides the polygon had. The shape seems to be bound by eddies that slowly orbit and confine the inner ring into the polygon.
It’s an interesting coincidence that scientists (Uranus) claim to have duplicated this phenomenon on Saturn just as Uranus in the sky faces off in an opposition against Saturn!