Saturn’s rapid rotation velocity allows the planet to present auroras in full daylight due to unique magnetic reconnection mechanisms, in a process similar to that that forms auroras on Earth, reports Phys.org. Earth’s auroras are caused by the magnetic reconnections, which are colliding magnetic fields, that cause solar storms.
When magnetic reconnections occur, the plasma matter that bears a magnetic field is discharged into space, and a part of it hits our planet. When this plasma’s magnetic field strikes the Earth’s magnetosphere, the auroras appear. The very same pattern has been witnessed on Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn.
Now, an international crew of scientists is trying to learn more about magnetic reconnection mechanisms on Saturn by reexamining the data read by NASA’s Cassini probe which orbited Saturn for about 13 years.
Unique magnetic reconnection mechanisms on Saturn lead to auroras in full daylight
In previous studies on this issues, scientists have stated that reconnections occur on Saturn in full daylight, but there was data hinting at the possibility that magnetic reconnection might also occur on Saturn on the nightside of its magnetodisk.
However, initial studies have shown that no auroras are formed on the dayside of Saturn’s magnetodisk.
But now the scientists discovered signs that magnetic reconnection in the dayside magnetodisk causes auroras anyway. According to the scientists, this ostensible abnormality is most likely the result of Saturn’s rapid rotational velocity, as one day on Saturn lasts only 10 hours.
The scientists believe that the high rotational velocity shrinks Saturn’s magnetodisk until it is thin enough to allow for the magnetic reconnection to occur during daylight. Also, the reconnections observed by the researchers indicate that they are strong enough to cause auroras.
Now, the scientists think that this abnormal magnetic reconnection mechanism on Saturn may also be present on other planets, indicating that auroras in full daylight might also occur elsewhere in the solar system.