One of the biggest questions about Saturn is solved thanks to her rings. After knowing that these are not formed next to the planet, the data collected from the investigation Cassini help to know how long one day lasts in the gas giant, according to a study published in the specialized magazine Astrophysical Journal.
Scientists had only approaches for Length of Saturn For information obtained Voyager mission in 1981. It was thought that the planet revolves around its axis 10:39:23, an estimate based on, inter alia, the magnetic field.
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Over the years this figure has been modified to the range of 10:36 and 10:48 am, but it was not an exact figure.
Then, before falling to the surface Saturn, Cassini send data that enables you to accurately determine the duration of the day in that distant world: 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds.
But, Why was it so hard to measure the length of the day? Good the surface of Saturn is not solid, therefore it is not possible to follow a reference point along a curve, except that the axis of rotation is almost aligned with its magnetic field, therefore, radio signals can not be used to know how long the full rotation has been delayed.
So, Christopher Mankowitz, astronomer and astrophysicist from the University of California, used data from Cassini to study wave patterns within rings and the magnetic field of Saturn to get a precise figure, the study details.
For its part, the NASA talks about this: "The researchers used waves in rings to look inside the Saturn, and extracted this fundamental feature of the planet. It's a really solid result ", said Linda Spielker, head of the Cassini project, in a statement by the US agency.
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