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Astronomers: Rings of Saturn Produce their own Rain onto the Planet

Apr 11, 2013 18:32 IST

AstronomersAstronomers discovered that the rings of Saturn produce their own rain that falls onto the planet which has a major impact on its atmosphere. The Astronomers revealed that the rain influences the composition and temperature structure of parts of Saturn's upper atmosphere. In fact, Saturn is the first planet to exhibit significant interaction between its atmosphere and ring system.

The discovery also helps scientists better understand the origin and evolution of Saturn's ring system and changes in the planet's atmosphere. Those bands were not seen again until the astronomers observed the planet in near-infrared wavelengths with the W M Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The ring rain's effect takes place in Saturn's ionosphere, where charged particles are produced when the otherwise neutral atmosphere is exposed to a flow of energetic particles or solar radiation.

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