Shaky rings help scientists measure saturn days


A day on Saturn lasts for 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds, according to a paper published in The Astrophysical magazine That used Vobbles in Saturn rings to make the score. That's a few minutes shorter than parents' gigant & # 39; Today's new timetable with some previous mathematical estimates.

It was hard for researchers to find out how long a day on Saturn for several reasons. First, the planet has an incredibly thick and rotating atmosphere, which obscures the inner surface. That's not usually a huge problem. When they cannot see how fast the surface of the planet is spinning, the astronomers can generally measure their magnetic field to find out what's going on. But the saturn magnetic field is perfectly lined up with its axis, making its rotation very difficult to measure. Other researchers got schedules that were Kind of Close – 10 hours, 39 minutes or 10 hours, 48 ​​minutes – but not quite right.

Therefore, one of the co-authors, Mark Marley, figured out that researchers could use Saturn's most distinctive feature to their advantage. Saturn's rings are made of solid bits of ice and rock. As they orbit the planet, Saturn's gravity touches them a little. These tiny taps created waves measured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, helping researchers down the length of Saturn's day.

"The researchers used waves in the rings to peer into Saturn interior, and to remove the long-awaited, fundamental quality of the planet. And this is a really tough result," Kassini's scientist, Linda Spiler, said in a statement. "The ring considered the answer."

If all this is well-known, you are not imagining things – this is not the first time researchers have announced a solution to this particular astronomical mystery. Writes in a Nature Paper several years ago, researchers took the planet's gravitational field and shape, and set the length of Saturn for 10 hours, 32 minutes, and 44 seconds. (And, in fact, a version of The Astrophysical magazine Made the rounds on the internet earlier this year.)

But it's exciting that researchers finally have the length of days on the main bodies of the solar system worked out. Kind of. Even something as simple as a day can be very different. A day of sunshine makes it clear how long it takes for the sun to return to the same point in the sky, while a later day is the time it takes for a body to completely rotate on its axis.

Yes, a weekend day is always too short, and one day is just passing through the dreaded vibration of political news alerts, but the immutable laws of nature are still just 23 hours, 56 minutes a day.

So the next time you hear someone sipping over the vagaries of time, and how It's just not enough hours in a day, Here are some alternative day lengths for you to bring yourself and completely (and scientifically) derailed the conversation.

Note: For simplicity's sake, these are all moral days, and "Day" refers to a Earth Day. If you want to get bizarre, start reading up Mercury And VenusSunday Days.

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