Add this to the long list of celestial End Times portents to keep you up at night: Saturn’s north polar hexagon, a six-sided vortex of unknown origin that could easily swallow our entire planet, has changed color. It was blue when the Cassini spacecraft imaged it in 2012, and now, it’s bright gold. The surprising new hue is plainly illustrated in a set of images captured in November 2012 and September 2016, and released by the Cassini Imaging Team last week.

While scientists are still working out the details of what triggered the color change, it seems to be related to the accumulation of haze particles inside the hexagon since winter’s long night ended. From November 1995 to the winter equinox in August 2009, Saturn’s north pole was tilting into darkness. During this time, photochemical reactions—interactions between sunlight and atmospheric compounds that produce haze—were diminishing. CONTINUE