We know what’s inside Saturn’s core, thanks to the dance of its rings

Scientists have observed waves and spirals caused by the "music" of the core. We know what inside Saturn, thanks to the dance of its rings.

This is not the first time that space researchers have had to resort to telescopic observations to deduce, from the behavior of the stars, aspects that would be the case to verify in the field. On Mars, in fact, it has not been like that: the rover that currently wanders on the surface of the Red Planet and sends NASA researchers a lot of interesting information, has allowed us to develop a very solid theory on how the heart of Mars is made.

There are also cases in which we can do nothing more than peer curiously along distances that cannot be bridged with the technology available to us: for example, the weight of a black hole has been hypothesized indirectly, observing the reflection of light flashes emitted by the mysterious black circle refracted on the corona.

Something similar to both the previous assumptions happened with Saturn, the planet of the Solar System that stands out among all the others thanks to its characteristic rings. It is thanks to this striking "frame" that researchers have been able to hypothesize what lies within the planet's unreachable core.

How did scientists "read" Saturn's interior

Saturn's icy rings in fact "dance" to the notes of a planetary soundtrack that comes from within the planet. In fact, the latter is continually shaken by convulsions that alter the local gravitational field by attracting particles from Saturn's C ring. By carefully studying what waves and spirals the gravity of the internal convulsions draws on the circles of the planet, astronomers have managed to build a theory of the interior of Saturn.

What's inside Saturn: despite the "music", a real hell

In the article, published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy , we read that the core has colossal size: it represents 60% of the radius of the planet and is 55 times the size of the Earth.

What is it made of? Well, it is a kind of hell, a mass of rocks and ices, which mixing, assume the fluid metallic form of hydrogen.

This kind of studies also helps researchers to refine our knowledge of other planets close to Earth: for example, we are now able to make more confident hypotheses about how gaseous giants similar to Saturn, including Jupiter, were formed.

Giuseppe Giordano