According to recent research, published in the scientific journal “Planetary Science Journal” by a group of researchers coordinated by Lotfi Ben-Jaffel, an expert at the Paris Astrophysics Institute and the University of Arizona, Saturn’s rings are heating up the layer outermost atmosphere of the planet.
About 40 years of observations in the ultraviolet
In particular, the phenomenon, which has never been observed before in the Solar System, was discovered by evaluating about 40 years of observations in the ultraviolet, obtained thanks to the data that emerged in various missions and calibrated thanks to the data collected by the famous Hubble Space Telescope. The discovery, according to experts, could help find alien worlds equipped with a system of rings.
The explanations of the researchers
The distinctive trait that made it possible to specifically identify this particularly unprecedented phenomenon was, as confirmed by scholars, an excess of ultraviolet radiation visible as a line of hot hydrogen inserted in the spectrum of Saturn’s atmosphere. In fact, the culmination of the radiation signaled that there is something contaminating and heating the upper part of Saturn’s atmosphere from outside. For researchers, what can best explain the condition is that causing this warming is the fall of icy particles from the planet’s rings, caused by micrometeorite impacts, particle bombardment from the solar wind, solar ultraviolet radiation or even electromagnetic fields that collect electrically charged dust. This whole process develops under the influence of Saturn’s gravitational field, capable of attracting particles to the planet itself.