#Saturn, #SaturnTime; #NASA'sCassinispacecraft
New York, Jan 26 (Canadian-Media): Researchers believe to have been able to find out that length of a day on Saturn is 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds with the help of new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, media reports said.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
This data was made use of by Christopher Mankovich, a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, and could conclude the answer was hidden in the rings.
The gas giant lacked solid surface with landmarks to track as it rotated leaving planetary scientists for decades in the dark of this fact, further eluded by the unusual magnetic field that hides the planet's rotation rate.
His work determined that the rings respond to vibrations within the planet itself, and the rings, in turn, detect those movements in the field.
Mankovich's research, published Jan. 17 by Astrophysical Journal, describes how he developed models of Saturn's internal structure that would match the rings' waves. That allowed him to track the movements of the interior of the planet — and thus, its rotation.
Saturn scientists are elated to have the best answer yet to such a central question about the planet.
The idea that Saturn's rings could be used to study the seismology of the planet was first suggested in 1982, long before the necessary observations were possible.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)