Hubble captures summer on Saturn

(ORDO NEWS) — Saturn is the true “Lord of the Rings” in this new image taken by NASA / ESA Hubble spacecraft on July 4, 2020, when this majestic giant was 1350 million kilometers from Earth. This new image of Saturn was taken at a time when summer arrived in the planet’s northern hemisphere.

In the course of their observations, scientists discovered a small number of atmospheric vortices. These vortices are temporary formations that appear and disappear every year in Hubble images.

In the northern hemisphere of the planet, latitudinal banding can be clearly seen. Each stripe, corresponding to its latitude range, represents an atmospheric flow of a certain composition, and the color of the stripes changes from year to year. Saturn’s atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, with traces of ammonia, water vapor, and methane and other hydrocarbons that give it a yellowish brown color.

In this image, Hubble captures a reddish atmospheric haze in the northern hemisphere. Its color can be associated with an increase in heating due to sunlight, which leads either to a change in atmospheric circulation or to the removal of ice from atmospheric aerosols.

According to another hypothesis, an increase in the flux of light in the summer months changes the amount of atmospheric haze formed as a result of photochemical processes. In contrast, the slightly visible south pole has a bluish tint, indicating changes in Saturn’s winter hemisphere.

Hubble’s “keen eyesight” reveals the concentric structure of the gas giant’s rings. The question of the origin and age of the planet’s rings continues to be controversial at the present time, but it is well known that the rings consist of highly reflective ice particles ranging in size from several microns to tens of centimeters.

The image also clearly shows two icy moons of Saturn – Mimas on the right and Enceladus below.

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