Using new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, researchers they believe they have decided a long-standing mystery of the solar system: the duration of a day on Saturn, which It turned out to be 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds,
that it's a mystery for planetary scientists for decadesbecause the gas giant It has no solid surface with reference points to follow as they rotate, and has an unusual magnetic field that hides the planet's rotation speed.
During the orbits of Saturn to Cassini, tools looked at the frozen and rocky rings with unprecedented details, Christopher Mankovich, an aspirant in astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, He uses the data to explore the models of theinside the rings.
His work determines that the rings respond to the vibrations in the planet itselfwhich operate similarly to the seismometers used to measure motion caused by earthquakes. The interior of Saturn vibrates at frequencies that cause changes in its gravitational fieldThe rings, on their part, find these movements in the field.
– The particles on the rings they can not help you feel these oscillations in the field of gravity"In certain places these vibrations capture the particles of the ring at the right moment in their orbits, to accumulate energy graduallyand this energy is worn as an observed wave. "
The research by Mankovich, published on January 17 by the Astrophysical Journal, describes how he develops models of Saturn's internal structure which coincides with the rings of the rings, It allowed him to follow the movements of the interior of the planet, and therefore its rotation.
The turnover ratio of 10:33:38 this The analysis is a few moments faster than previous estimates in 1981., which are based on radio signals from NASA's Voyager Spacecraft.
The Voyager data analysis, which He calculated that the day is 10:39:23, is based on information about the magnetic field. Cassini also uses data from the magnetic field, but previous estimates varied between 10:36 and 10:48.