Its surface area is eight times that of planet Earth The white circles on top is the storm Stormy weather is brewing on Saturn. Though we earthlings have been aware of Saturn's Great White Spot since 1876, we now understand more clearly what is happening with the massive storm, thanks to images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. According to a news release from NASA , we now know just how big that storm really is: its surface area is eight times that of planet Earth. Cassini's cameras show that the storm covers approximately 1.5 billion square miles. A USA Today report noted that scientists working with the Cassini project first became aware of the current storm in December 2010 which was last spring on Saturn. Since its discovery, the spot has grown exponentially in both size and brightness. Scientists now believe Saturn's out-of-this-world storm is bright white because of its gaseous content. Apparently, the glowing hue is "produced by plumes of warm, moist air that bring ammonia ice particles to the planet's upper atmosphere," according to the report. The shifting elements also create a dazzling lightning show. The Los Angeles Times reported that researchers recently found lightning strikes within the storm up to 10 times per second in flashes 10,000 times brighter than what we experience on Earth. The researchers' findings were published in the journal Nature.