We’re recently found out how long is a day on Saturn. It was kind of hard to figure out, since the planet does not have a solid surface, which means there are no landmarks that can be tracked when the planet rotates. Also, the magnetic field makes the rate of the rotation hard to see.
About 10 hours
Researchers from NASA used data from the Cassini spacecraft to gather info around. And the answer is here: ten hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds. It’s quite shorter than they initially thought.
NASA got an image of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft back in 2016. They used the rings to find the length of a day on the planet. Cassini got a lot of info during its mission in 1997, until it got destroyed in the planet’s atmosphere in 2017.
During its orbit from 2004 until 2017, the spacecraft got high-resolution images of the planet and enough data about its rings. The data was then used by a graduate student to study the wave patterns from within the rings. Then, he found out that the rings acted like a kind of seismometer, that responds to vibrations that occur in the planet. When the planet vibrates and earthquakes happen, the frequencies of the vibration cause variation in the gravitational field of the planet, and they are transmitted to the rings.
With all of these in mind, scientists can now register the movements of the interior of the planet, and they can see the rotation of the planet, as well. This is what gave them the answer to our question.
Researchers have used waves in the rings to see the interior of Saturn and found out this big characteristic of the planet. The result is very solid. The answer was always in the rings.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.