Scientists made another discovery about Saturn, that after they recently revealed that the iconic rings of Saturn formed later in the planet’s history. Thanks to another set of data gathered by NASA’s Cassini space probe, a long-standing mystery has been solved – how long one Saturn day lasts? Accordingly, one Saturn day is about 10 Earth hours, while one year on Saturn is 29 Earth years.
The new study was carried out by the researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz and published in the Astrophysical Journal. As the scientists reported, the new findings were possible thanks to data from the now extinct Cassini mission. Revealing how long one Saturn day lasts was impossible for astronomers until now as the information was hidden due to Saturn’s rings.
Since Cassini helped scientists learn more about the rings of the second-largest planet in the Solar System, they could now measure how long is a day on Saturn.
One Saturn Day Is About 10 Earth Hours, While One Year Is 29 Earth Years
Christopher Mankovich, one of the study’s authors, examined the wave patterns in Saturn’s rings. According to Mankovich, the rings respond to vibrations to the vibrations of the planet. Saturn’s interior vibrates at frequencies that also influence its gravitational field, and then the planet’s rings detect those oscillations.
“Particles throughout the rings can’t help but feel these oscillations in the gravity field. At specific locations in the rings these oscillations catch ring particles at just the right time in their orbits to gradually build up energy, and that energy gets carried away as an observable wave,” said Christopher Mankovich who added that the planet’s rings held the answer to how long a Saturn day lasts.
“The researchers used waves in the rings to peer into Saturn’s interior, and out popped this long-sought, fundamental characteristic of the planet. And it’s a really solid result. The rings held the answer,” also said Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scientist.
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