The pole-to-pole map of Saturn

The Pole-To-Pole Map Of Saturn’s Thermosphere

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The pole-to-pole map of Saturn’s thermosphere is possibly the reason why it’s so hot. A team of planetary researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom created a 2D map of density and temperature in Saturn’s thermosphere (upper atmosphere).

The entirety of a true color image of Saturn seen by Cassini in 2014 was shown on August 20, 2011 in the northern hemisphere with a false-color representation of the ultraviolet aurora. Image from NASA / JPL-Caltech / Institute of Space Sciences / A.. Bedar, University of Lancaster.

The thermospheres of the gas giant planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune) are hot, just from Earth. But unlike Earth, the Sun is far from these outer planets because of the high temperatures. Its source of heat has been one of the great mysteries of planetary science.

“A truly global approach is needed to understand the dynamics,” said lead author Zarah Brown, a graduate student in the lunar and planetary laboratory at the University of Arizona. This dataset is the first time that we can see the upper atmosphere from pole to pole, as well as see how temperature changes with depth.

By producing a complete picture of how heat is transmitted into the atmosphere, scientists can understand how auroral electric currents heat Saturn’s thermosphere and drive winds. The global wind system can distribute this energy, which is initially deposited near the poles to the equatorial regions, heating them twice the expected temperature only by the sun’s heat.

“The results are important to our overall understanding of the planetary upper atmosphere and are an important part of Cassini’s legacy,” co-authored Dr. Lunar of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. Tommy Koskinen said.

“They help address the question of why the thermosphere is so hot, while the rest of the atmosphere, due to the great distance from the sun, is cold.” Saturn’s exospheric temperature as a function of the planet’s latitude at half the point of light for the observations described in the study. GF – Grand Final.

In September 2017, NASA‘s Cassini spacecraft launched it into Saturn’s atmosphere to protect its moon Enceladus, which scientists discovered could be suitable for life. But before its fall, Cassini made 22 ultra-close orbits of Saturn, a final tour called the Grand Finale. These were the main data collected for the new temperature map of Saturn’s atmosphere during the Grand Final.

For six weeks, Cassini targeted several bright stars in the constellations Orion and Canis Major as they passed Saturn. As the spacecraft observed the stars rising and setting behind the giant planet, the scientists analyzed how the light from the stars changed as it passed through the atmosphere.

By measuring how dense the atmosphere becomes, researchers need to find the temperature. Density decreases with height, and the rate of decrease depends on temperature. The team discovered that the temperature is close to the auroras, indicating that auroral electrical currents heat the thermosphere.

Together, the density and temperature measurements helped scientists detect wind speed. Although thousands of exoplanets have been found, only the planets in our solar system can be studied in such detail, Brown said. Thanks to Cassini, we have a more detailed picture of Saturn’s upper atmosphere right now than any other giant planet in the universe.

What makes Saturn’s atmosphere so hot. The upper layers in the atmosphere of the gas giants: Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, are as hot as Earth. But unlike Earth, the Sun is far from these outer planets because of the high temperatures. Its source of heat has been one of the great mysteries of planetary science.

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft provides a viable explanation for keeping Saturn’s upper layers and possibly other gaseous giants hot, so hot: the auroras at the planet’s north and south poles.

Due to the difference between charged particles from solar winds and Saturn’s moons, electric currents light up the aurora and heat the upper atmosphere. (As with Earth’s northern lights, the Auroras study tells scientists what’s going on in the planet’s atmosphere.)

The work, published today in Nature Astronomy, is the most comprehensive mapping for both temperature and density of the gas’s upper atmosphere, an area that is poorly understood. “A truly global approach is needed to understand mobility.

This dataset is the first time we can see the upper atmosphere from pole to pole, as well as see how temperature changes with depth, “said Zara Brown, lead author of the study and Lunar at the University of Arizona. Graduate student and planetary laboratory.

By creating a complete picture of how heat is transmitted into the atmosphere, scientists can understand how atomic currents heat the upper layers of Saturn’s atmosphere and drive the winds. The global wind system can distribute this energy.

Which is initially deposited near the poles to the equatorial regions, heating them at twice the expected temperature just because of the sun’s heat. “The results are important to our overall understanding of the planetary upper atmosphere and are an important part of Cassini’s legacy,” said co-author Tommy Koskinen, a member of Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrum team.

“They help address the question of why the upper part of the atmosphere is so hot, while the rest of the atmosphere is cold because of the great distance from the sun.” Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Cassini was an orbiter that had observed Saturn for more than 13 years before depleting its fuel supply.

The mission threw it into the planet’s atmosphere in September 2017 to protect its moon Enceladus, which Cassini discovered could capture suitable conditions for life. But before its fall, Cassini made 22 ultra-close orbits of Saturn, a final tour called the Grand Finale.

These were the main data collected for the new temperature map of Saturn’s atmosphere during the Grand Final. For six weeks, Cassini targeted several bright stars in the constellations Orion and Canis Major as they passed Saturn. As the spacecraft observed the stars rising and setting behind the giant planet.

The scientists analyzed how the light from the stars changed as it passed through the atmosphere. By measuring how dense the atmosphere becomes, scientists need to find the temperature. Density decreases with height, and the rate of decrease depends on temperature.

They found that the temperature is close to the auroras, indicating that auroral electrical currents heat the upper atmosphere. Together, the density and temperature measurements helped scientists detect wind speed.

Understanding Saturn’s upper atmosphere, where the planet meets space, is important to understanding space weather and its effect on other planets in our solar system. “Although thousands of exoplanets have been found, only the planets in our solar system can be studied in such detail.

Brown said that, thanks to Cassini, we now have a more detailed picture of Saturn’s upper atmosphere than any other giant planet in the universe. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, administers the mission of NASA’s Scientific Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini Orbiter. The results appear in the journal Nature Astronomy.

In September 2017, NASA‘s Cassini spacecraft launched it into Saturn’s atmosphere to protect its moon Enceladus, which scientists discovered would be suitable for life. But before its fall, Cassini made 22 ultra-close orbits of Saturn, a final tour called the Grand Finale. These were the main data collected for the new temperature map of Saturn’s atmosphere during the Grand Final.

For six weeks, Cassini aimed at several bright stars in the Orion and Canis Major constellations as they passed Saturn. As the spacecraft watched the stars rising and setting behind the giant planet, the scientists analyzed how the starlight changed as it passed through the atmosphere. By measuring how dense the atmosphere becomes, researchers need to find the temperature.

Density decreases with height, and the rate of decrease depends on temperature. The team discovered that the temperature is close to the auroras, indicating that auroral electrical currents heat the thermosphere. The density and temperature measurements together helped scientists detect wind speed.

“Although thousands of exoplanets have been found, only the planets in our solar system can be studied in such detail,” Brown said. “Thanks to Cassini, we have a more detailed picture of Saturn’s upper atmosphere right now than any other giant planet in the universe.” The results appear in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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