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 Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

nachricht Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>