Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saturn’s winds are variable

10.06.2003


A team of astrophysicists at the University of the Basque Country has detected, for the first time ever, changes in Saturn’s winds. The research has merited front page coverage in the scientific magazine, Nature.



The winds blowing around Saturn and Jupiter are special. Unlike those of the rest of the planets, these move in an eastwards direction and are ten times stronger than the earth’s winds. On our planet it is solar radiation which governs the winds, but on the distant planets it is believed that there is another energy source, although astrophysicists have not identified it as yet. According to some theories, the wind originates in the centre of the planet and brings with it heat from there.

The tem of astrophysicists at the University of the Basque Country (EHU), together with another from Wellesley College in Massachussets, have analysed the images provide by the Hubble telescope in order to understand the behaviour of Saturn’s winds. During the analysis, an unexpected discovery was made – the velocity of the winds from 1996 to 2002 turned out to be half of that in the 1980-81 period. Agustin Sanchez-Lavega, Santiago Perez-Hoyos, Jose Felix Rojas and Ricardo Hueso have taken part in this research, amongst others. .


The speed of the winds had been believed to be stable

The speed of the winds of Jupiter and Saturn were first measured in the 80s by Voyager. Since then, it has been thought that Jupiter’s winds were stable, although nothing certain was known about those circulating Saturn. Now, thanks to the work of carried out by researchers at the EHU, it is known that the winds at the equator have changed and, moreover, the astrophysicists have concluded, these winds are created in the upper part of the atmosphere.

In order to check all these conclusions, the Cassini Huygens mission, which will reach Saturn in 2004 will be of vital importance. This mission, led by European and US space agencies, will take high-resolution images of de Saturn’s atmosphere and, perhaps then, clear up the mysteries of the winds.


Author:
Eider Carton
Elhuyar Fundazioa

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v423/n6940/abs/nature01653_fs.html&d

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan
19.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>