Astronomy Picture of the Day



Red Saturn

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#66780 by @ 11.02.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
Red Saturn


Explanation:

This strange,
false-color image
of otherwise familiar planet
Saturn shows temperature changes based on
thermal infrared
emission in the gas giant's
atmosphere and rings.

Recorded from the Keck I telescope on
Mauna Kea,
the sharp, ground-based picture of Saturn's
southern hemisphere is a mosaic of 35 images.

Based on the effects
of sunlight during the southern
summer season, general warming trends were
anticipated.

But a surprising result of the infrared image data
is the a clear indication of an abruptly warmer polar
cap and bright hot spot at Saturn's south pole.

The warm south pole and hot spot may be unique in the
solar system
and a further exploration of the region
is planned using
instruments on the Cassini
spacecraft.

So how hot is Saturn's hot spot?

The upper tropospheric temperature is a sweltering 91
Kelvin
(-296 degrees Fahrenheit) at the pole.




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