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View Full Version : Discussion: Saturn's Winds are Slowing Down



Fraser
2003-Jul-08, 10:09 PM
SUMMARY: When the Voyager spacecraft zipped past Saturn in 1980/81, they clocked the ringed planets equatorial winds at 1700 km/h. But a team of Spanish and American astronomers recently measured the motions of clouds and storms on Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope and found they were only going 990 km/h. Although the equatorial winds have slowed down, other jets further away from the equator are still moving the same speed. This has led the astronomers to believe that the slow-down has something to do with the change of seasons on Saturn.


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VanderL
2004-Feb-07, 11:22 PM
I know this is an older story, but maybe some new data or explanations have been put forward since June last year. Could sunlight reaching Saturn really be responsible for winds of 1,000 mph (why don't we experience those speeds when the Earth is much closer to the Sun)? And since Cassini will be at Saturn this year, maybe these questions will be addressed?
Cheers.

DippyHippy
2004-Feb-10, 12:26 AM
I'm guessing the reason why Earth doesn't get windspeeds that high is because it's a completely different planet... Saturn's a lot bigger, it's the least densest of all the planets (0.7) and although it might have a solid core, it's composition is 75% hydrogen - when you take all that into account and add the fact that it takes less than 11 hours to rotate, I'm not at all surprised it has those windspeeds!

BTW, does anyone know if Neptune still has the highest recorded winds?