Astronomers have found that Saturn’s core does not have a well-defined boundary.
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology analyzed data collected by the Cassini probe while observing the structure and properties of Saturn’s rings: the ship has been orbiting the planet for 13 years.
Based on the vibrations of the rings of Saturn, it is possible to determine the seismic activity and the structure of the planet’s interior, the authors suggested. Therefore, they tried to create a computer model of the interior of Saturn, which would reproduce the data that was collected during the mission.
The measurements taken with the Cassini instruments can only be explained if the core of Saturn extends to 60% of the planet’s radius and, at the same time, it does not have a clear boundary. This structure explains well why Saturn’s interior generates unusually high levels of heat.
As a result, the authors refuted the popular myth that the core of Saturn is a solid ball of stone. In reality, it looks more like a diffuse liquid of ice, rocks, and metallic liquids.
In addition, the core takes up 60% of the planet’s diameter, making it significantly larger than astronomers assumed. The core is 55 times more massive than the entire Earth and has a radius of 35 thousand km.
The authors note that after they established the type of Saturn’s core, some of the planet’s features became clearer to scientists. In particular, the abnormally large amount of heat generated by its bowels, as well as some features in the nature of the movement of matter flows inside this gas giant.