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Saturn’s superstorms last for centuries

Saturn’s superstorms last for centuries

The gas giant planets in the solar system fascinate researchers trying to unlock the secrets of their atmosphere. A new study tells us that on Saturn, giant hurricanes forming in the upper layers of its atmosphere can last for tens or even hundreds of years.

More than a billion miles from Earth, elements are kicking off Saturn’s surface. A gas giant, like a larger giant JupiterJupiterwashed away big stormsstorms. A study conducted by academics from the Universities of Michigan, Berkeley, and California, W Posted on August 11th, details the result of observations made over several years regarding these “superstorms”. In particular, scientists used data from a radio telescope very large array (VLA), combined with observations from the Cassini space probe over the past decade.

penetration of the layers of Saturn’s atmosphere

Observing Saturn through a telescopetelescopeIts surface and atmosphere appear almost uniform, unlike Jupiter, which wants to be striped with stripes of ColorsColors. Furthermore, if this latter planet’s Great Red Spot is determined to be a giant hurricane that unfurls other storms, then the two giants have an entirely different function, according to Astronomy scientistsAstronomy scientists. In 2010, one such storm was forming in Saturn’s atmosphere. Observed by various instruments, it is ultimately the VLA that plays a major role in pointing its dish at the gas planet.

By studying the spectral range obtained thanks to the waves caught by the radio telescope, the scientists succeeded in determining its frequency and operationanomalyanomaly Atmosphere. Penetrating through the different layers of clouds, the researchers observed a higher rate ofammoniaammonia In an area more than 200 kilometers below the surface. These layers are divided into three layers LayersLayers : the upper part, consisting of cloudsclouds of ammonia ice at a temperature close to -250°C. there Middle classMiddle class, which harbors ammonium hydrosulfide, is the region where there are the least number of ammonia molecules. The latter are largely located in the lower layer, with a temperature of about 0 °C and a pressurepressure Oscillate about 300 k.

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Ammonia winds are remnants of ancient storms

These traces of ammonia detected in the deepest layers of Saturn’s cloud appear to be signs of ancient storms, as particles descend into the depths of the planet thanks to a cycle precipitationprecipitation And evaporation. The process is repeated for decades, even hundreds of years.

The study of declinations and atmospheric storms on Saturn is an important discipline for AstrophysicistsAstrophysiciststrying to understand the performance of these giants solar systemsolar system. In 2021, scientists released particularly convincing hypotheses about the formation of northern lightsnorthern lights At the poles of Saturn and Jupiter. Astronomers are now patiently waiting for the year 2025 to be able to examineSouthern HemisphereSouthern Hemisphere From Saturn, even now it is darkened by the shadow of its rings.

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