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Shorter days for Saturn

30 Jul 2009, 03:14 UTC
Shorter days for Saturn NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Using the change of radiation as Saturn’s magnetic field rotates, the Voyager spacecraft measured almost 30 years ago that a day of Saturn lasts 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 24 seconds. However, the same measurements by the Cassini spacecraft suggests that it lasts 10 hours, 47 minutes, and 6 seconds, over seven minutes longer. [...]

Saturn
Using the change of radiation as Saturn’s magnetic field rotates, the Voyager spacecraft measured almost 30 years ago that a day of Saturn lasts 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 24 seconds. However, the same measurements by the Cassini spacecraft suggests that it lasts 10 hours, 47 minutes, and 6 seconds, over seven minutes longer. Such a significant change in the bulk rotation rate of Saturn probably means that Saturn’s magnetic field does not quite rotate in lockstep with the planet itself. Another method might be needed to measure the length of a Saturnian day.

Another way to measure the rotation rate of Saturn has been proposed using an analysis of its winds. Applying this analysis to Jupiter gives a length of day close to what is known, so it might be a better way to measure the length of a Saturnian day than using ...

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