Saturn's superstorms have raged for centuries

Saturn’s superstorms have raged for centuries

The gas giant planets of the Solar System fascinate researchers, who seek to unravel the mysteries of their atmospheres. A new study tells us that on Saturn, titanic cyclones that form in the upper levels of its atmosphere can last for tens or even hundreds of years.

More than a billion miles from Earth, the elements are spread across Saturn’s surface. gas giant, more like giant JupiterJupiterswept away by the important stormstorm, A study conducted by academics from the Universities of Michigan, Berkeley and California and published on August 11 details the results of observations made over several years regarding these “super-storms”. Specifically, the scientists used data from radio telescopes huge range (VLA), combining them with observations from the Cassini space probe during the last decade.

Breaking Saturn’s Atmospheric Layer

observation of saturn through a TelescopeTelescopeIts surface and its atmosphere appear to be nearly homogeneous, unlike Jupiter which tends to be streaked with bands. colour’scolour’s, If, moreover, it is determined that the Great Red Spot of this last planet is a titanic cyclone capable of destroying other storms, then the workings of the two giants are very different, according to the astronomersthe astronomers, In 2010 one of these storms was forming in Saturn’s atmosphere. Viewed by various instruments, it is ultimately the VLA that plays a major role in aiming its dish at the gas planet.

By studying the spectral bands obtained due to the waves picked up by radio telescopes, scientists were able to determine the frequency and operationinconsistenciesinconsistencies atmospheric. By piercing different cloud layers, the researchers noted the presence of high rates ofammoniaammonia In the region more than 200 kilometers below the surface. These layers break down into three parts levellevel : upper one, made the cloudsthe clouds The temperature of ammonia ice is close to -250°C. There middle layermiddle layer, the reservoir of ammonium hydrosulfide, is the region in which the fewest ammonia molecules are found. The latter are largely located in the lower layer, with temperatures around 0°C and a ExpressionExpression oscillating around 300 K.

Ammonia winds, remnants of ancient storms

These traces of ammonia found in Saturn’s deepest cloud layers appear to be traces of old storms, the cycles of which caused the molecules to descend deep into the planet. precipitationprecipitation and evaporation. This process is repeated for many decades, even hundreds of years.

The study of atmospheric anomalies and storms on Saturn is an important discipline astronomyastronomytrying to understand the modus operandi of these giants of Solar systemSolar system, In 2021, scientists issued concrete hypotheses on its formation, particularly Northern LightsNorthern Lights at the poles of Saturn and Jupiter. Astronomers are now patiently waiting for 2025 so they can investigateSouthern hemisphereSouthern hemisphere of Saturn, which was till now obscured by the shadow of its rings.


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