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Cassini scores a great view of Saturn's Sandy experience

A MONSTER storm reminiscent of hurricane Sandy has been captured churning above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

The spectacular images were taken 400,000 kilometres above the planet's north pole on Tuesday and beamed back to Earth.

The roiling cloud formation sits at the centre of Saturn's famed northern vortex, a permanent hexagonal-shaped feature of the planet's two poles.

The swirling vortex above the north pole circles the planet at about 480 km/h and has an estimated diameter wider than Earth.

Images of the six-sided cloud structure was first captured by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. The north was then shrouded in a winter-induced darkness for 15 years and the bizarre storm system was not seen until Cassini's cameras snapped it in 2008. Cassini also photographed the south pole hexagon a few years ago.

Cassini, a joint project between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, arrived at Saturn in 2004 and will continue orbiting the planet until September 2017. During its mission, which has been extended twice, the spacecraft has landed on the planet's largest moon, Titan, and completed multiple flybys of its other moons.