Saturn's Lightning-1 Million Times Stronger Than Earth's

http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=1448772004

According to the info at this link, new data from the Cassini spacecraft says that lightning on Saturn is 1 million times stronger than Earth's lightning.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

That makes Saturn's lightning the most powerful lightning in the solar system-so far. We still don't know about Uranus and Neptune.

8)
 
But even terrestrial lightning can deliver between 100 million and one billion volts of electricity.




wow!!!....that would be amazing to watch, but from a safe distance of course. :shock: :shock: :shock:

And what WOULD a safe distance be?? :p :lol:

Jupiter's lightning, by comparison, is only 1,000 times more powerful than Earth's.

:shock:
 
I'd imagine that the thunder would be so loud that it would destroy your ears.

What would happen if a Saturnian lightning bolt struck a city like Chicago or New York?

:shock:
 
Since lightning on Earth turns sand into glass I bet Saturn is like a huge marble by now. Sounds like a bad Tesla experiment!

...except that Saturn is a giant ball of liquid hydrogen, with 1,000 mph winds.

:wink:
 
Makes you wonder what would cause that much instability in its atmosphere to cause lightning that strong.

Actually, I think the answer is pretty simple.

***RADICAL*** difference in air temperature.

The air temperature near the top of Saturn's atmosphere must be around -300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember-Saturn's moon Titan has a surface temperature of -289 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, the temperature difference between the upper and lower depths in Saturn's atmosphere may be as much as 800 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it may depend on the season. When Voyager visited Saturn in the early 1980s, it detected more thunderstorm activity. But now, the planet's rings are casting a deep shadow over the same area, and there is supposedly less thunderstorm activity because of this.

Still, given the Sun's distance from Saturn-close to 1,700 million miles-I seriously wonder if the Sun can affect the planet's weather all that much. Saturn's scalding global ocean of liquid hydrogen plays a larger part in the planet's weather, I think.
 
We briefly (like maybe about 3 minutes) discussed the weather on Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in Astronomy class right before the end of the semester...some interesting stuff out there. This is something I could definitely get into. Where are the best sites for more info?
Angie
 
Well, that somewhat clears it up. :D Saul, did/do you study astronomy?

Actually, I'm a writer. 8)

My site:

http://users.erols.com/strabal/creations.html

I've been fascinated with violent weather since I was a kid-and when I started reading up about weather on other planets, it blew my mind. :shock:

I like to read. I've read quite a bit on astronomy. I wish there were more books on interplanetary meteorology. I've gotten my info from various books as well as visiting web sites and BBSes dedicated to astronomy.

8)
 
We briefly (like maybe about 3 minutes) discussed the weather on Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in Astronomy class right before the end of the semester...some interesting stuff out there. This is something I could definitely get into. Where are the best sites for more info?
Angie

Best sites??

Wow, that's a damn good question! Ironically, I haven't had much time lately to do searches on stuff like that because I've been busy working on a horror/sf story for publication.

However, the Discovery Channel showed an EXCELLENT program called Planet Storm-which talked about alien weather on other planets. There was a FANTASTIC Jupiter segment, which had some wild computer animation that showed what Jovian thunderstorms might be like. There was a hypothetical scene which had a plane flying in the midst of Jovian thunderstorms-and the thunderheads were so violent that they knocked the plane out the sky with a bolt of lightning! :shock:

Jupiter's thunderheads can grow to 50 miles in height, and as much as 2,500 miles wide.

8)
 
Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science Instrument (RPWS)

http://www.uiowa.edu/~ournews/2004/decembe...704gurnett.html

As an engineer working under Dr. Gurnett at the University Of Iowa,
I designed the electronics package in the Cassini Radio and Plasma
Wave Science (RPWS) instrument that processes the signals from the
spacecraft antennas. The package has three main functions: 1) It
decomposes signals into their individual frequencies (spectrum
analysis), 2) processes "time domain" data, most effective for
analyzing transient signals such as lightning, and 3) Sends data to
on-board processor (computer) where signal processing algorithms
detect certain signal signatures (such as lightning). These data
are placed in a telemetry stream and broadcasted back to the earth
via an RF link.

- bill
 
Re: Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science Instrument (RPWS)

http://www.uiowa.edu/~ournews/2004/december/121704gurnett.html

As an engineer working under Dr. Gurnett at the University Of Iowa,
I designed the electronics package in the Cassini Radio and Plasma
Wave Science (RPWS) instrument that processes the signals from the
spacecraft antennas. The package has three main functions: 1) It
decomposes signals into their individual frequencies (spectrum
analysis), 2) processes "time domain" data, most effective for
analyzing transient signals such as lightning, and 3) Sends data to
on-board processor (computer) where signal processing algorithms
detect certain signal signatures (such as lightning). These data
are placed in a telemetry stream and broadcasted back to the earth
via an RF link.

- bill

First of all, I want to thank you and your colleagues for the wonderful work you've done with Cassini. :D It's been an enjoyable experience sharing these exciting discoveries with you. :D

I have a question-and I wonder if you could answer this. Galileo took pictures of lightning on Jupiter's night side. Do you have any idea if Cassini will do the same at Saturn? Given how much more powerful lightning is on Saturn, I imagine that lightning flashes viewed on the night side will be even more brilliant.

8)
 
I sense a new futuristic trend in storm chasing... just attach your anemometer to your family rocket and you're off chasing across the solar system.

I can see that the NWS might have trouble putting NEXRAD domes on Jupiter, with all that gravity and high winds and extreme temperatures and such.
 
Re: Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science Instrument (RPWS)

Originally posted by Saul Trabal
I have a question-and I wonder if you could answer this. Galileo took pictures of lightning on Jupiter's night side. Do you have any idea if Cassini will do the same at Saturn? Given how much more powerful lightning is on Saturn, I imagine that lightning flashes viewed on the night side will be even more brilliant. 8)

I was involved with the Cassini RPWS instrument design and construction prior to launch; therefore, I'm no longer involved with the mission. To answer your question to the best of my ability, I know that the Cassini imager (the instrument that takes photographs – as opposed the RPWS instrument I was involved with at the University of Iowa that receives and processes naturally occurring radio waves) has taken several images of storms (in the IR, near IR, and visible spectrums). Although I'm not certain of this fact, I do believe that the Cassini imager has taken pictures of lightning on Saturn – and if so, it has not received nearly as much attention in mainstream news media as the Galileo photos of lightning on Jupiter.

Cassini Imaging Team:
http://ciclops.lpl.arizona.edu/

Photo of storm on Saturn:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/...a/pia06507.html

Detecting lighting via radio waves - this was one of the purposes of the RPWS instrument:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/...a/pia06414.html

"Spectrogram" showing received radio waves from lightning - frequency is on the vertical axis, and time is on the horizontal.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/...a/pia06417.html

bill
 
Re: Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science Instrument (RPWS)

Originally posted by Bill Schintler
Although I'm not certain of this fact, I do believe that the Cassini imager has taken pictures of lightning on Saturn – and if so, it has not received nearly as much attention in mainstream news media as the Galileo photos of lightning on Jupiter.

I know that I was EXTREMELY frustrated when I was trying to find out the strength of Jupiter's lightning. I kept reading conflicting information in recent books, which had Jupiter's lightning at 10 times to 10,000 times more powerful than Earth's. It took an email to the folks involved with Galileo to get the straight answer: 1,000 times more powerful than Earth's lightning.

The photos I've seen of Jupiter's lightning are amazing. But given that Saturn's lightning is perhaps the most powerful in the solar system, the light show must be incredible. Even if the lightning is occuring fairly deep, I'd imagine that can be seen; it's just a question of being in the right place at the right time. If there are such pictures, I'm DYING to see them!! :D

Thanks so much for the links! :D
 
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