Johns Hopkins University researchers have published the findings of a study in which they simulated the conditions required to create Saturn’s unique magnetic field. The team believes that a thick layer of helium rain influences Saturn’s magnetic field. Their models also indicate that the interior of Saturn may be hotter in tropical areas.
According to the model, lower temperatures are present at high latitudes at the top of the helium rain layer. The project’s researchers note that studying the interior structures of giant gaseous planets is complex, and their findings help to advance efforts to map Saturn’s hidden areas. According to Sabine Stanley, studying how Saturn formed and evolved can teach us a lot about the formation of other planets in our solar system, similar to Saturn.
One of Saturn’s critical differences from other planets in the solar system is its unique magnetic field, which is almost perfectly symmetrical around the rotation axis. Details of the magnetic field were obtained during the Cassini mission’s final orbits, allowing researchers to learn more about the planet’s deep interior. Saturn’s magnetic field is created deep within the earth.
Researchers on the project fed Cassini’s data into computer simulations similar to those currently used to study weather and climate. Researchers investigated what was required to create the electromagnetic conversion mechanism known as the Dynamo to account for Saturn’s magnetic field lines. The team discovered that the model was sensitive to variables such as temperature.
Simulations indicate that a minor degree of non-axisymmetry may exist near the planet’s north and south poles. Even though observations of Saturn show that the magnetic field appears perfectly symmetrical, computer simulations can thoroughly investigate the area, according to Stanley. Direct observation at the poles, according to the researchers, would be required to confirm their findings.
If they can confirm the discovery, the data could have implications for understanding another challenge that scientists have been grappling with for decades in their study of Saturn: how to measure the rate at which the planet rotates. Knowing how fast the earth rotates allows us to calculate the length of a day on the earth.