‘Storms’ on Saturn? w New Image


Fig. 1 Saturn ‘storm’ imaged by Cassini

Three posts on Saturn can be found on this blogsite. To access them just enter Saturn in the search box.

This post addresses an additional point – the Cassini photographs of what are labelled ‘storms’ in the published literature. This is certainly an unusual storm, not acting like storms on Earth where hurricanes in the northern hemisphere coming from hot Saharan air masses move to the west with the trade winds but inevitably turn north. This motion is due to the Coriolis effect, a fundamental aspect of weather models, which is proportional to the spin rate of the Earth, but it is not happening on Saturn.

A paper contributed by nine scientists published in the prestigious journal Icarus, reports that “On January 11, 2011, the size of the head was 9200 km and up to 34,000 km in the north–south and east–west dimensions, respectively.  The storm spawned the largest tropospheric vortex ever seen on Saturn.” The storm lasted from Dec to June 2010. It’s initiation is described as “Intense cumulus convection at the westernmost point of the storm formed a particularly bright “head” and later as “Radio and Plasma Wave Science measurements show that the longitudinal extent of the lightning source expanded with the storm’s growth.” … “The storm’s head moved westward and encountered the new anticyclone from the east in June 2011. After the head–vortex collision, the RPWS instrument detected that the Saturn Electric Discharge activities became intermittent and declined over ∼40 days until the signals became undetectable in early August. In studying the end of the convective activity, we also analyze the Saturn Electrostatic Discharge signals detected by the Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument.” The description of the head moving westward is a guess because in the entire 13 years Cassini orbited Saturn, the scientists were not able to determine its rotation rate.

Cyclic Catastrophism

As detailed in three previous posts, these ‘storms’ are the result of impacts of ‘Juno’ asteroids ejected from Jupiter in the last 6,000 years, millions of which are known to orbit with Jupiter in its L4 and L5 Lagrange points. Because Saturn is also a highly deuterated, solid Methane Gas Hydrate planet and is the closest planet to Jupiter, it has been impacted by hundreds of these asteroids in this period. These impacts cause nuclear fusion explosions on Saturn’s surface and the resulting ‘mushroom clouds’ rise through the atmosphere. This is what is being described in the cited paper as its “bright head” and “lightning source”. These explosions eject water which becomes added to the rings. Earlier impacts of more massive asteroids ejected the material which now comprises Saturn’s sixty-two moons. Consistent with the proposed MGH composition (CH4)4(H2O )23, water and methane were detected in far infrared emissions. The rotation of the giant Saturn is much more rapid than the Earth, taking approximately nine hours. Because of that rate, storms on Saturn should be moving rapidly toward its north pole but the track of the storm shown in Fig. 1 shows no such trend. In fact, this ‘storm’ continued for four months at essentially the same latitude. “The storm left a vast dark area between 32°N and 38°N latitudes, surrounded by a highly disturbed region that resembles the mid-latitudes of Jupiter.”

The larger impacts also trigger a continuing fusion reaction on the surface, which, in the case sited, lasted four months. It remained at the same latitude because the explosion is not a storm, it is on the solid surface of the planet. The plume source moved around the planet to the east, the direction of rotation of Saturn. If it were merely a storm, it would have expanded but the plume was being continuously generated by the slowly declining, ongoing fusion reaction.

Fig. 2. One month after impact, the bright head is on the left and appears to be occluded due to false coloring of the colliding tail to show different wavelengths.

Because the wind speed at altitude are faster than the rotation of the planet the swirling plume was carried around the planet and collided with the brighter head. This is described strangely in the paper as “We detect anticyclonic circulation in the new vortex. The vortex’s size gradually decreased after its formation, and its central latitude shifted to the north. The storm’s head moved westward and encountered the new anticyclone from the east in June 2011. After the head–vortex collision, the … Saturn Electric Discharge activities became intermittent and declined over ∼40 days until the signals became undetectable in early August.”

Saturn, Jupiter and the Juno asteroids all contain the full range of solar system elements in their known, published

Fig. 3. Solar system abundances consistent with Methane Gas Hydrate composition of Jupiter  H>O>C>all others as shown.

abundances (Fig. 3). Therefore the material ejected into the rings by the impacts has the same composition. The Cassini mission reports do not mention that the rings contain all of the elements because they cannot explain the fact. This was revealed years ago when Voyager 2 images with enhanced color differences were publish (Fig, 4).

Fig. 4. Enhanced colors of Saturn’s rings, showing the variety of elements

~ by Angiras on May 6, 2018.

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