Monday , September 26 2022

Trembling rings help scientists measure the days of Saturn


One day in Saturn lasts 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds, according to a document published in He Astrophysical journal who used the tombs to Saturn's rings to do the calculation. These are a few shorter minutes than the oldest approximations of the gas giant's day, but the new calendar is related to some previous mathematical estimates.

The researchers were hard-pressed to find out how much time a day had passed in Saturn for some reasons. First of all, the planet has an incredibly thick and rotating atmosphere, which concealed the inner surface. This is not usually a huge problem. When they can not see the speed with which the surface of the planet is turning, astronomers can generally measure the movements of their magnetic field to find out what happens. But the magnetic field of Saturn is perfectly aligned with its axis, making its rotation very difficult to measure. Other researchers obtained estimates that were kind of Near – 10 hours, 39 minutes or 10 hours, 48 ​​minutes – but they were not good.

Next, one of the co-authors, Mark Marley, discovered that researchers could use the most distinctive feature of Saturn for their advantage. Saturn's rings consist of small pieces of ice and rock. As the planet orbits, the gravity of Saturn drags them slightly. These small tugs created waves that were measured by the NASA spacecraft Cassini, and helped researchers determine Saturn's length of day.

"The researchers used waves in the rings to look at the interior of Saturn, and this fundamental feature of the planet emerged. And it is a very solid result," said the scientist Cassini Linda in a statement Spilker "The rings kept the answer".

If all this sounds familiar, do not imagine things: this is not the first time researchers have announced a solution to this astronomical mystery in particular. Write in a Nature Paper a few years ago, the researchers took the gravitational field and the shape of the planet, and set Saturn's length of the day at 10 hours, 32 minutes and 44 seconds. (And, in fact, a version of He Astrophysical journal paper went round the internet at the beginning of last year).

But it is exciting that eventually the researchers have a length of time in the main bodies of the Solar System. Kind of. Even something as simple as one day can have very different definitions. A solar day measures how long the Sun takes to return to the same point in the sky, while a sidereal day is the time it takes for a body to rotate completely on its axis.

Yes, a weekend day is always too short and a day scored by the dreaded vibration of the political news alerts is eternity, but apart from the immutable laws of nature, there are only 23 hours, 56 minutes a day.

So the next time you listen to someone who sighs the dresses of time and how There are not enough hours in a day, Here are some alternative days for you to open and completely (and scientifically) derail the conversation.

Note: with respect to simplicity, these are every sidereal day, and "day" refers to a day on Earth. If you want to become strange, start reading Mercuri i VenusSolar days

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