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Waspie_Dwarf

Saturn's Atmospheric Mystery

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Waspie_Dwarf

Data From NASA's Cassini May Explain Saturn's Atmospheric Mystery

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The upper layers in the atmospheres of gas giants — Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune — are hot, just like Earth's. But unlike Earth, the Sun is too far from these outer planets to account for the high temperatures. Their heat source has been one of the great mysteries of planetary science.

New analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft finds a viable explanation for what's keeping the upper layers of Saturn, and possibly the other gas giants, so hot: auroras at the planet's north and south poles. Electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn's moons, spark the auroras and heat the upper atmosphere. (As with Earth's northern lights, studying auroras tells scientists what's going on in the planet's atmosphere.)

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA

 

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