Streaks On Saturn's Rings Made By Lightning

According to this link at Nature.com, streaks on Saturn's rings may be caused by titanic lightning strokes from the giant thunderstorms below in Saturn's thick atmosphere.

Now, this got me to thinking-could they be sprites, like those on Earth?

:confused:
 
"Now, this got me to thinking-could they be sprites, like those on Earth?"

Coincidentally, that's what the article says is the likely explanation.
 
"Now, this got me to thinking-could they be sprites, like those on Earth?"

Coincidentally, that's what the article says is the likely explanation.

**sigh** I knew I should have gotten a cup of Joe... :p

Well, Saturn's thunderstorms are probably the most violent in the solar system, with Jupiter's thunderstorms being a close second. My understanding is that Cassini is trying to photograph lightning flashes in Saturn's atmosphere. Ring shine, however, may make that difficult.
 
Thanks for the article, Saul, it is very interesting!

I suppose the streaks could be sprites as you suggest, who knows for certain? The streaks themselves are a new discovery.. I'm sure astronomers will figure it out to a degree of certainty in time.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, BTW!

Pat
 
Thanks for the article, Saul, it is very interesting!

I suppose the streaks could be sprites as you suggest, who knows for certain? The streaks themselves are a new discovery.. I'm sure astronomers will figure it out to a degree of certainty in time.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, BTW!

Pat

Another thing to keep in mind; Saturn's thunderstorms are HUGE. The Dragon Storm, in Saturn's southern hemisphere, is nearly half the size of Earth. Lightning on Saturn ranges anywhere from 1,000 to one million times more powerful than Earth's. As to that massive storm at Saturn's south pole, which was reported to have towering clouds surrounding the center, I wonder if those clouds may be thunderheads.

And I hope your Thanksgiving was good as well! :D
 
I suppose the streaks could be sprites as you suggest, who knows for certain? The streaks themselves are a new discovery.

Nobody is suggesting that the streaks are spikes - the streaks travel around the rings while a spike is a onetime event. It's surmised that the streaks are caused by spikes.

And they are far from a new discovery - they were found with the Voyager probes nearly 30 years ago...

- Rob
 
I left out the word from when typing my response.... It wass supposed to read:
I suppose the streaks could be from sprites.

Wonder why no spokes were observed between 1998 and 2004? Must not have been any thunderstorms during that period??

Pat
 
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