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Space & Astronomy

Internal heat fuels Saturn's jet streams

By T.K. Randall
June 27, 2012 · Comment icon 1 comment



Image Credit: NASA
Scientists believe they have solved the mystery of what is powering Saturn's turbulent jet streams.
On Earth the jet streams are caused by a combination of the planet's rotation and solar radiation, but on Saturn it is now believed that the jet streams which churn the gas giant's turbulent atmosphere are fueled by heat generated within the planet itself. Scientists used photographs and data from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft to reach this conclusion.

"We know the atmospheres of planets such as Saturn and Jupiter can get their energy from only two places: the sun or the internal heating," said NASA's Tony Del Genio. "The challenge has been coming up with ways to use the data so that we can tell the difference."
Turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across Saturn. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn's atmosphere and the source from which the jets derive their energy.


Source: NASA | Comments (1)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by csspwns 10 years ago
i acctually thot it came from the sun but i guess i was wrong D:


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