Authors: Mads Faurschou Knudsen, Bo Holm Jacobsen, and Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark; Peter Riisager: Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark; Raimund Muscheler and Ian Snowball: GeoBiosphere Science Centre, Department of Quaternary Geology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2009GL039439, 2009; http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL039439
4. New clues found in Saturn rotation mystery
Scientists have known for some time that Saturn emits intense kilometer-wavelength radio emission, known as Saturn kilometric radiation (SKR), that rotates with a period of 10.8 hours. However, scientists have been puzzled by more recent observations that found a component of this oscillation with a slightly different rotation period, about 10.6 hours. It had been thought that the motion of magnetospheric particles that emit SKR radiation was linked to motion of the planetary interior, but the discovery of the second component cast doubt on this interpretation. Further investigating the characteristics of the two SKR components, Gurnett et al. find that the 10.8-hour component originates from Saturn's southern auroral region, while the more recently discovered 10.6-hour component originates from the northern auroral region. They discuss several north-south asymmetries on Saturn that could be factors in explaining the asymmetry in SKR rotation rates. The authors believe that the study should help improve scientists' understanding of how angular momentum is transferred from the inner planet to Saturn's magnetosphere.
Title: Discovery of a north-south asymmetry in Saturn's radio rotation period
D. A. Gurnett, W. S. Kurth, A. M. Persoon, and J. B. Groene: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University
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American Geophysical Union