Strong winds account for the horizontal bands in the atmosphere of this giant gas planet. At 24 hours and 37 minutes, the Mars day length is very similar to Earth's, which is one of the … Smart News Keeping you current We Finally Know How Long a Day on Saturn Is By studying oscillations in the planet’s iconic rings, researchers have determined it takes Saturn … Knowing how long a given planet’s day lasts can help with interpreting its gravitational field and its internal structure. Its mass, size, and so on. After reading small, spiraling waves in those bands, sculpted by oscillations from Saturn’s gravity, scientists reported this month in the Astrophysical Journal that one Saturnian day is a mere 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds long, measured in Earth time. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/how-long-is-day-on-saturn-astronomers-just-found-out.html, evidence from Cassini that the rings are raining on Saturn. Saturn is about 75,000 miles (120,000 km) across, and is flattened at the poles because of its very rapid rotation. Astronomers just found out. Cassini has dived between Saturn and its rings 15 times now, with seven more dives to go, and continues to collect unprecedented science results — along with some spectacular images. Set your timers for 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds — scientists have finally figured out how long a day lasts on Saturn, cracking a lingering mystery about the ringed gas giant.. That's according to newly published research that uses data gathered by NASA's Cassini mission before the spacecraft's destruction in September 2017. We know how long an Earth day is, but how about the other planets in our solar system? As I recently wrote, Saturn is a weird place. For something like Earth that’s not too hard to do. The other three gas giants don’t, but they have tilted magnetic fields that wobble as these planets rotate, and the disturbances can be used to work out each planet’s rate of rotation. Plenty of spacecraft have visited Saturn, but Cassini—a “beast of a space probe”—circled the giant world for 13 years with instruments that could watch those rings in unprecedentedly high resolution. Those might have features in them like storms or spots, but these are not exactly anchored to anything solid. Press Release From: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council Posted: Thursday, May 4, 2006 . If a mass equal to one of Saturn’s moderate-size moons shifts around within the planet, it can cause part of the rings to slosh back and forth. But for the ringed planet, it’s a variable that astronomers have been struggling with for decades. Normally that would be impossible to detect… except Saturn has those magnificent rings, made of gazillions of tiny bits of frozen water ice. NASA.gov brings you the latest images, videos and news from America's space agency. And a series of recent studies led by the University of Idaho’s Matthew Hedman further built on the notion to develop what the team refers to as kronoseismology, or the ability to see what’s happening inside Saturn using the waves in its rings, a concept first suggested in 1982. A day is only 10 hours long on Saturn. Saturn rotates faster than Earth so a day on Saturn is shorter than a day on Earth. That’s not the case in reality, and future papers by this team will include the more complex nature of the way Saturn rotates, with different layers moving at different rates. Share. The Voyager missions gave us one answer: 10 hours, 39 minutes, 24 seconds (that is, 10.7 hours). Science and Technology Facilities Council. Waves like these have been seen, usually created by resonance with the moons. The effect of this is that the particles move out of their usual orbit one after another, creating a spiral wave pattern in the rings. “Its timbre, as in the set of allowed frequencies for its oscillations, is dictated by its overall structure: its size, shape, composition, temperature, and so on.”. Our planet has a solid surface, so you can simply stand in one spot and see how long, for example, it takes a star to circle once in the sky (you can use the Sun, but Earth’s orbit complicates things there). It’s huge but the least dense of all the planets. Posted on Aug 07, 2006 Measuring the rotation period of a rocky planet like the Earth is easy, but similar measurements for planets made of gas, such as Saturn… How long is a day on Saturn? Clues in Saturn’s rings divulge the planet’s rotation rate: 10 hours, 33 minutes, 38 seconds. They looked at the rings . You can find out more info at … The magnetometer results provide the best estimate of the Saturn day to date, because it can see deep inside Saturn. Mars. However, astronomers using Cassini data have come up with a clever way to figure out Saturn’s day. Measuring the rotation of Saturn is not as easy as it sounds. Hi, I wasn’t aware of this particular issue. How many moons does the planet have? on Twitter, Share How long is a day on Saturn? One new paper on the preprint site arXiv.org suggests that giant impacts in Saturn’s distant past may to be responsible for “ringing the bell,” so to speak, and sparking the ongoing internal chaos, Mankovich notes. Day Length. Saturn’s rings are far from static. All rights reserved. A day is only 10 hours long on Saturn. It’s not clear why. Update your browser for more security and the best experience on this site. Data from Voyager estimated the day to be 10 hours 39 minutes and 23 seconds, but the new data puts the day on Saturn at 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 … But for the moment, he says, “the ultimate culprit for those oscillations inside Saturn remains a genuine mystery.”, Photograph by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. Even better is how clever people can use that information, too, learning so much about this most beautiful planet in the solar system. Cassini has dived between Saturn and its rings 15 times now, with seven more dives to go, and continues to collect unprecedented science results — along with some spectacular images. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Well, kinda. It’s a bit like a snare drum: Something rocks the main instrument, and the snare shakes in response. I. It’s been done twice, once with the Voyager spacecraft in the 1970s, and again with Cassini more recently. However, astronomers using Cassini data have come up with a clever way to figure out Saturn’s day. As per calculations, the length of one day on Saturn is 10 hours 33 minutes and 38 seconds. But just 23 years later, the Cassini spacecraft sent data that showed the period had changed by 6 minutes, about 1%— which should take hundreds of millions of years. That means its rotation doesn’t cause any measurable change in its magnetic field. Since Cassini helped scientists learn more about the rings of the second-largest planet in the Solar System, they could now measure how long is a day on Saturn. But the numbers they got were different by 6 minutes! This revelation is important because it’s “a fundamental property of any planet in the solar system,” notes University of Iowa physicist Bill Kurth, who worked on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn but who was not on the study team. Mercury: 1,408 hours: Venus: 5,832 hours: Earth: 24 hours: Mars: 25 hours: Jupiter: 10 hours: Saturn: 11 hours: Uranus: 17 hours: Neptune: 16 hours It's 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds. Saturn’s rotation is even more complicated than that, since different parts of the planet rotate at different speeds. Zoom In. According to a new study, it's 10 hours, 47 minutes and 6 seconds -- give or take 40 seconds. Set your timers for 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds — scientists have finally figured out how long a day lasts on Saturn, cracking a lingering mystery about … Saturn is about 75,000 miles (120,000 km) across, and is flattened at the poles because of its very rapid rotation. How Long Is A Day On Saturn? The answer is still unclear as the Cassini spacecraft approaches its “Grand Finale” plunge into the ringed planet’s atmosphere. The "canonical" (that is, commonly accepted) day length on Jupiter is determined by the rotation rate of its magnetic field, which is nine hours, 55 minutes long. How did the rings around Saturn form? Saturn 101 How did the rings around Saturn form? Layers deep inside move up and down, or north and south, in a periodic fashion. Using models of Saturn combined with these observations, the scientists were able to get a fairly precise measurement of Saturn’s rotation. Then, a research team led by Christopher Mankovich, a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, had an idea. Given that Saturn is visible to the naked eye, easily observable with even a small telescope, and studied by hundred of astronomers for centuries, including with spacecraft that have gone there, you’d think we’d have a pretty good idea about all its basics by now. (2006, May 3) … Saturn hasn't slowed down, Kurth says. Cassini took this shot of Saturn (right), the C ring (dark grey) and brighter B ring from a distance of 627,000 kilometers on Sept. 4, 2005. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. They sometimes ripple or experience waves, normally when orbiting moons tug at them as they pass near all that ice and dust. That’s a lot when the day on Saturn is a little over 10 hours long. It has an atmosphere thousands of kilometers thick, and we only see the cloud tops. Except every week in your inbox. Saturn's shadow seems to take a bite out of its famous rings in a composite picture made using some of the final images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, captured in October 2016. Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / Ian Regan. S A T U R N. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Ian Regan. on Facebook, Share How long is a day on Saturn? How long is a day on Saturn? The properties of these waves depend on what they are travelling through and what generated them. Finally cracking the mystery all came down to the late, great Cassini spacecraft, says James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who was not involved in the study. Plus, a tale of two Ahsokas, Freaky's body-switching makes the real 'Final Girl' slasher trope explicit in an unexpected way, WIRE Buzz: Ryan Reynolds' time travel team-up first look; sci-fi leads top entertainment IPs; more, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker drops bomb on fate of ‘the fam’ in holiday special, Batman’s flat broke in Caped Crusader pandemic relief short from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But when Cassini visited the gas giant, it measured the day as 10 hours, 47 minutes. In this way, the ring particles act like sensitive seismometers, measuring changes inside the planet below! “Saturn is the only planet whose rotation is hard to measure,” says Matthew Tiscareno, a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute who wasn’t part of the new study. The answer: 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds. That’s been done for all four of the outer giant planets. Using the magnetometer instrument on Cassini, they have found a clear period in the magnetic field of the planet that they believe indicates a day of 10 hours and 47 minutes. They move with respect to the atmosphere, making them impossible to use to see how long it takes Saturn to spin. Plateau P5 is located 52,700 miles (84,800 km) from Saturn's center, and long streaks of material shoot through it. Saturn, however, wasn’t playing ball. The magnetic field lines act a little bit like a net, sweeping up particles in space as the planet spins. The answer: 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds. But these waves can also be triggered by the oscillations of material deep within Saturn’s enigmatic interior. These are very subtle effects caused by very complicated motions of gas inside Saturn where we cannot see them directly, but can be modeled with very complex mathematics. This gives the particles a little bit of extra energy, like kicking your legs when you’re on a swing. For the most part, we do. How many moons does the planet have? Saturn's day is longer than 10 hours and 47 minutes, says William Kurth at the University of Iowa. Strong winds account for the horizontal bands in the atmosphere of this giant gas planet. By submitting your information, you agree to our, This magnificent view of Saturn was created using images taken by Cassini on October 28, 2016, and merged into a mosaic by Ian Regan. Another way to measure a day is to count the amount of time it takes for a planet to completely spin around and make one full rotation. Fangrrls is about kicking down doors, breaking boundaries and celebrating female fans with fun, witty and entertaining content. The rings of Saturn have been used to work out the length of a day on the planet. Revealing how long one Saturn day lasts was impossible for astronomers until now as the information was hidden due to Saturn’s rings. But there have been some seen by Cassini in the C ring that didn’t line up right with any moons… but they do with the predicted oscillations inside Saturn. As they do, they very subtly modify the gravity field of Saturn, causing it to change periodically as well. Now NASA scientists have used data from the Cassini spacecraft to pin down an answer and solve the puzzle: A day on Saturn is ten hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds long. “Although you can't hear its oscillations, Saturn is very much like a musical instrument,” Mankovich explains. Clues in Saturn’s rings divulge the planet’s rotation rate: 10 hours, 33 minutes, 38 seconds. Get the latest updates on NASA missions, watch NASA TV live, and learn about our quest to reveal the unknown and benefit all humankind. The gassy world’s swirling, chaotic clouds mean that no surface features can be properly tracked. On Earth, a sidereal day is almost exactly 23 hours and 56 minutes. The answer is still unclear as the Cassini spacecraft approaches its “Grand Finale” plunge into the ringed planet’s atmosphere. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. This is some fiercely high-level stuff. How long is a day on Saturn? How long is a day on Saturn? At the same time, several spacecraft orbiting Saturn have confirmed that its magnetic field is freakishly on-the-level, aligned near-perfectly with its rotational pole. That enabled it to see tiny details that are “impossible to achieve” using ground-based telescopes, O’Donoghue says. is such a seemingly simple question. This number can now be used in other equations to model the interior of the giant planet, honing in on other details with better confidence. If a moving mass creates localized changes in the planet’s gravitational field, then that pulls at the rings, too. Earth: 365 days. It has a fleet of moons ranging from the simply odd to the truly bizarre. Well, kinda. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute) If this sloshing matches up with the frequency of the ring’s orbit, it resonates, turning a small slosh into a clearly observable spiral wave. ... How long is a day on Saturn? It’s a giant gas planet mostly consisting of hydrogen and helium. That may very well focus in even better on the planet’s spin. However, astronomers using Cassini data have come up with a clever way to figure out Saturn’s day. Cassini took this shot of Saturn (right), the C ring (dark grey) and brighter B ring from a distance of 627,000 kilometers on Sept. 4, 2005. Credit: WIRE Buzz: Noah Hawley's Alien and Star Trek projects on pause. I have no qualms in showing my amazement in this work! An image of Saturn captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2016. With this in mind, Mankovich’s team created a bespoke numerical model, designed to use the ring waves to work out what the interior structure of Saturn must be like. According to a new study, it's 10 hours, 47 minutes and 6 seconds -- give or take 40 seconds. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Saturn, though, presents a problem: There’s no surface. 5 Replies to “How Long is a Day on Saturn?” NunoG says: December 22, 2007 at 5:06 AM . See stunning NASA images of the gas giant studied by Christian Huygens and Giovanni Cassini. That’s a very small amount, so the pulses are hard to measure. Only after Voyagers 1 and 2 sent home data, in 1980 and 1981, could scientists analyse patterns that suggested a day on Saturn is about 10:40 hours long. Data from Voyager estimated the day to be 10 hours 39 minutes and 23 seconds, but the new data puts the day on Saturn at 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds. It doesn’t take much effort to trigger those waves. We Finally Know How Long a Day on Saturn Is By studying oscillations in the planet’s iconic rings, researchers have determined it takes Saturn 10 hours, 33 … It’s incredible, the depth and breadth of information Cassini returned to us back on Earth. Measuring the rotation period of a rocky planet like the Earth is easy, but similar measurements for planets made of gas, such as Saturn, pose problems. How long is a day on Saturn? Now NASA scientists have used data from the Cassini spacecraft to pin down an answer and solve the puzzle: A day on Saturn is ten hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds long. Now, a study published in The Astrophysical Journal has used the planet’s rings to answer a surprisingly frustrating question: How long is a day on Saturn? It has layers, and internal motions. They found that Saturn spins once every 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds (±1m52s/1m19s) — several minutes faster than both the Voyager measurements and the Cassini ones based on Saturn’s magnetic field. Now, a study published in The Astrophysical Journal has used the planet’s rings to answer a surprisingly frustrating question: How long is a day on Saturn? S A T U R N. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Ian Regan. That’s a lot when the day on Saturn is a little over 10 hours long. They looked at the rings. Like Comic-Con. If the magnetic field is tipped with respect to the planet’s rotation axis, then you get a pulsing to those radio waves, and the period of the pulses then represents the time it takes the planet to spin. This is called a sidereal day. Including, at the end of the day, when exactly is the end of the day. This is something I wouldn’t have expected in this way, that Cassini would help us understand not just the details of Saturn, its moons, and rings, but also some of the most fundamental properties of it as well. Still, this measurement represents the bulk motion of Saturn’s spin, the time it takes the bulk of the planet to rotate once, something that wasn’t known before to such high accuracy. And the scientists aren’t done yet! And, of course, it has that huge ring system. I’ll note the title of the paper is “Cassini Ring Seismology as a Probe of Saturn’s Interior. But Saturn throws a monkey in the wrench there too: Its magnetic field is only tipped from its rotation axis by 0.01°! "How long is one day on Saturn?" How long is a day on Saturn? The team has done “a careful and reliable job” at solving this persistent query, Tiscareno says. Close in to Saturn, in its C ring, those icy particles orbit at just the right rate to be affected by the oscillations deep inside Saturn (we call this matchup a resonance). Saturn NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Rigid Rotation”. How long is a day on Saturn? The beauty of Saturn’s delicate system of rings is indisputable, but human fascination with them isn’t all about aesthetics; those rings can tell us incredible scientific stories, too. That’s because the planet has no solid surface with landmarks that could be monitored as it rotates. But, embarrassingly, one property has been maddeningly hard to find: Its rotation rate. Print E-Mail. Their model not only revealed some of the planet’s inner workings, but it also managed to finally calculate the length of a Saturnian day. So, what took so long? They made some simplifying assumptions in their work, mainly that Saturn rotates as a single, rigid body. on Reddit, How our galaxy will kill our solar system in a trillion years, planet by planet, The giant Arecibo radio telescope to be decommissioned due to damage, the scientists were able to get a fairly precise measurement of Saturn’s rotation, the depth and breadth of information Cassini returned to us back on Earth. When Voyager 2 visited Saturn back in 1981 , it recorded the planet's rotational period as 10 hours, 39 minutes. crew, What I'm thankful for in 2020: the comics edition, Comics Wire: Unpacking DC's Future State slate; Local Comic Shop Day; and this week's hot reads, Holiday Gift Guide: For the stay at home holiday, The horror of toys: Everything you didn't know about Small Soldiers, Vital Nonsense: Pick your ultimate team based on one actor's resume, Revisiting Marvel's underrated classic, Squadron Supreme, Netflix's La Revolution and why we need more period horror pieces, 35 thoughts we had while watching the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, Share How long is a day on Saturn? Venus: 225 days. Here is how long it takes each of the planets in our solar system to orbit around the Sun (in Earth days): Mercury: 88 days. The fact that Saturn’s internal mass and its errant behavior can cause ring waves was first evidenced in the early 1990s, says Tiscareno. Each time Cassini has tried to pin down the exact length of a Saturnian day, the numbers change. For years, it wasn’t clear how to solve this conundrum. How long is a day on Saturn? Another way is to use a planet’s magnetic field, generated deep inside the planet. Even though we know something within the gas giant is causing those ring waves to appear, no one knows what that something could be. Using new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, researchers believe they have solved a longstanding mystery of solar system science: the length of a day on Saturn. This generates radio waves, which can be detected by spacecraft. This, by the way, is really fast. That’s a lot when the day on Saturn is a little over 10 hours long. Measuring the … The idea here is that Saturn is not just a blob of gas sitting there spinning. They looked at the rings. For decades, it was a nagging mystery — how long does a day last on Saturn? (See, for instance, evidence from Cassini that the rings are raining on Saturn.). Set your timers for 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds — scientists have finally figured out how long a day lasts on Saturn, cracking a lingering mystery about the ringed gas giant.. A day on Saturn is 10.656 hours long while a day on Earth is 23.934 hours long. A planet's day is the time it takes the planet to rotate or spin once on its axis. He explains that the terrestrial planets have surface features that can be tracked.