A recent study conducted by the University College London shows that Saturn’s Titan moon has earth-like polar winds. The new findings have explained scientists some of the daily changes that occur in the atmosphere of the celestial body.
Andrew Coates, the leader of the group study from University College London has been in charge of NASA’s Cassini mission for seven years. The space gear was launched in space to study the activity of Saturn and its surrounding moons.
Recent data provided on Thursday morning indicates that there are continuous changes taking place in the atmosphere of the Titan moon. The planet has already captured scientists’ attention a long time ago as the magnetic field of the sun seems to clash with the atmosphere of the moon.
Previous data enabled researchers to identify this incompatibility between the two fields, but they did not specify what causes this clash exactly. Cassini sent new pictures on Thursday morning, so researchers were able to see that powerful winds coming from the surface of Titan interfere with the sun’s magnetic field.
The nitrogen and methane levels existing in Titan’s atmosphere are 50% higher than the ones on Earth. Yet, Saturn’s moon is still losing significant quantities of nitriles and hydrocarbons each day due to the pressure exercised by the sunlight.
Coates has explained that the sunlight falling on the surface of Titan is still powerful even though the planet is ten times farther than Earth from the fiery celestial body. When the sunlight meets titan’s ionosphere, negatively charged electrons get released, while positive particles are left behind.
These newly-created particles are called photoelectron and they travel freely within Titan’s ionosphere. Their presence in Saturn’s magnetic field causes the molecules from the ionosphere to be sent into the space.
By comparing the magnetic field of Saturn, its moon, Titan and the Earth, scientists noticed there is a striking resemblance between Titan and the Earth. More specifically, the two planets have similar polar winds, with the same activity and peculiarities.
The evolution of the photoelectrons will be carefully studied by scientists in the future as the Cassini probe can clearly observe them. These particles produce 24.1 electronvolts of energy, which is why they may be easily distinguished from the rest of the electrons that NASA experts notice in space on a regular basis.
The findings of the new study will be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, this week.
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