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Saturn’s cold blue hemisphere

21 May 2021, 09:00 UTC
Saturn’s cold blue hemisphere
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View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Vishal Sharma in Greater Noida Extension, Uttar Pradesh, India, captured these images of Saturn in August, 2020, and on May 12, 2021. Vishal wrote: “A tip of bluish southern hemisphere is visible at bottom, which started to emerge into sunlight after many years of darkness.” Thank you, Vishal!
Saturn’s year, or one trip in its orbit around the sun, is equal to nearly 30 Earth years. The tilt of Saturn’s axis to its orbital plane is 26.7 degrees, which is fairly close to Earth’s 23.5 degrees. Therefore, Saturn experiences four seasons just as Earth does, which last a little more than seven years per season. In May 2021, Saturn’s southern hemisphere is moving from winter to spring. As it does, earthly astrophotographers are seeing the ringed planet – a world that appears golden to the eye and in a telescope – take on an interesting blue color in its southern hemisphere.
Saturn, in the outer solar system, gets cold. The hemisphere experiencing winter on Saturn gets especially cold because – it’s not only titled away from the sun – but also falls under the shadow of the rings. Scientists believe the winter cold causes ...

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