The results are published in Nature Astronomy. For a long time, the elevated temperatures of the upper atmosphere of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, which are equivalent to the Earth’s temperature, although far farther from the Sun than our planet, remained a mystery to scientists.
Thanks to data from the Grand Finale stage, a map of temperature distribution in the upper atmosphere has been drawn up For the gas giant, Which allowed researchers to answer the question of why it’s so hot.
it turns out That the density of the casing The atmosphere of Saturn decreases with altitude, and the difference in low density depends on temperature. The extreme temperatures are near the planet’s poles.
The reason for this is the electrical currents resulting from the interaction between the solar wind and the charged particles from Saturn’s moons. These currents create a similar effect to the aurora.
Thus, electric currents heat the upper atmosphere in Saturn’s polar regions. Then the high wind system distributes the accumulated thermal energy in the poles around the planet. As a result, the temperature of the atmosphere at the equator is only twice what is expected from solar heating.
“The results of the study are important for a general understanding of the processes in the higher parts of the planets’ atmosphere,” said one of the study’s authors, Tommy Koskinen.
Scientists also believe that the results of the study of the atmosphere For Saturn It could be used on other giant planets in the solar system.
In early October 2018, relying on data from the Cassini probe, NASA announced that Saturn’s rings could soon disappear, and its material could very quickly reach the atmosphere of the planet.
The Cassini interplanetary station has worked in space for nearly 20 years and completed the mission in 2017, after entering the Saturn atmosphere.