The magnetic axis of Saturn was inexplicably perfectly synchronized with the axis of rotation of the giant planet, which did not allow the Cassini probe to accurately measure the duration of the day on the “lord of the rings,” the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported.
“The slope of Saturn’s magnetic field turned out to be unexpectedly small, not corresponding to our old predictions, and this fact is extremely difficult to explain, for this reason we were unable to measure the duration of the day on the planet, but we continue to work on this and are looking for other ways of carrying out such measurements,” – Says Michele Dougherty of the Imperial College of London (UK).
As Dauherty tells us, scientists still do not know what time it takes for Saturn to complete one turn around its axis. Due to the absence of large spots, as on Jupiter, or the noticeable features of the relief and surface, planetary scientists have to calculate the speed of rotation by various indirect signs.
The first such evaluation was received back in the 80s, when Saturn visited the Voyager 2 probe. According to his measurements, the Saturnian days were 10 hours, 39 minutes and 22 seconds. This figure was considered correct and was not doubted until the arrival to the “ringed” planet of the Cassini probe, which measured the fluctuations of the Saturn’s magnetic field and came to the conclusion that in fact Saturn spends about 8 minutes more per axis around the axis.
Beginning with the end of April this year, Cassini periodically approaches Saturn, flying to it at the minimum distance within the last phase of the mission, named “The Final of the Opera.” These encounters, scientists believed at the time, should help them obtain more accurate data on the fluctuations of the Saturn’s magnetic field and more accurately measure the duration of the day.
Now the scientific team of Cassini observes the fluctuations of the gravitational field of the giant planet in the hope of finding traces of the fact that some internal processes in the atmosphere of Saturn hide the fluctuations of its magnetic field from us.
The first data, as noted by Dowerti and her colleagues, indicate the presence of unexplained anomalies in the gravitational field, which indicates that Saturn has many secrets that will have to be studied with the help of other probes, since the “Cassini” will die in the atmosphere The planet in just 1.5 months, in mid-September this year.