Supercell on Saturn???

Exerpt from Space.com:

Scientists are tracking the strongest lightning storm ever detected at Saturn. The storm is larger than the continental United States, with electrical activity 1,000 times stronger than the lightning on Earth....

The storm is about 2,175 miles wide (3,500 kilometers).


Now that is what I call a supercell...maybe a new frontier for chasing ??!!

Just have to watch out for those toxic "Non-Allsups related" gases and acid precip (?). I wonder what the skew t's look like?
 
Originally posted by Brian Stertz
Scientists are tracking the strongest lightning storm ever detected at Saturn

Ok, I'm packed. Anyone know of a few good motels? I wonder how far my Wifi will reach.
 
Originally posted by Susan Strom
Ok, I'm packed. Anyone know of a few good motels? I wonder how far my Wifi will reach.
Forget about good motel, give me a cheap "plane" ticket :D

Man, that must be a nice looking system, would be cool to see any images of it.
 
If the proportions are the same, there's a 109-mile wide wedge on the ground. Well, a 'wedge on the gas' since there really isn't a surface on Saturn.
 
HEY!!! **I'm** the one who usually starts topics like these around here!!

:p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p

:wink: :D

Hmmm-I wonder about the accuracy of the size of the storm. I've spoken to Cassini scientist Tony Del Genio (looks like I'm gonna send him another email), and supposedly the Dragon Storm is half the size of Earth.

From The Cassini site

The image shows the storm as it appeared to the Cassini imaging system on January 27, 2006. The storm's north-south dimension is about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles); it is located at minus 36 degrees (planetocentric) latitude and 168 degrees west longitude. This places it on the side of the planet that faces the spacecraft when the radio emissions are detected; the radio emissions shut down for half a Saturnian day when the storm is on the other side.

No lightning flashes are visible in the image. They would look like medium-sized bright spots, since the light would spread out before it reaches the cloud tops. Non-detection does not mean that the lightning is absent, however. Lightning might be too faint to stand out above background or too deep to be seen through the thick clouds. Bad luck is another possibility: The camera might have missed the strong flashes during the 10 seconds that the shutter was open. A narrow-cloud band crosses the storm from left to right. It is illuminated by the rings from the north and is brighter on that side. Cassini scientists are looking forward to an extensive night side image set, designed to look for lightning. That set will be collected during the first half of this year.

WAY cool. I'm looking forward to pics that show actual lightning flashes. :)

BTW-this storm, from what I read about it, is similar in size and lightning strength to those on Jupiter.
 
BTW-this storm, from what I read about it, is similar in size and lightning strength to those on Jupiter.

That certainly is amazing...that red dot on Jupiter is incredible...that really is the true planetary supercell. Makes the ones on Earth look like little sprinkles. It's unbelievable to see the combo of lightning and methane getting together on Saturn and temps of -100 to -200.
 
Originally posted by Brian Stertz
BTW-this storm, from what I read about it, is similar in size and lightning strength to those on Jupiter.

That certainly is amazing...that red dot on Jupiter is amazing...that really is the true planetary supercell. Makes the ones on Earth look like little sprinkles. It's unbelievable to see the combo of lightning and methane getting together on Saturn and temps of -100 to -200.

That "red dot" is actually a super-hurricane: 225 mph winds. It can hold 3 planets the size of the Earth. Thunderstorms have been known to form in the area northwest of the Great Red Spot.

Those low temperatures you talk about are at the top of the atmosphere. Jupiter and Saturn are huge balls of liquid hydrogen. There is probably no surface; the air just gets denser and hotter until it turns into the hellish global ocean of liquid hydrogen. The temperature at the transition point from atmosphere to liquid hydrogen is probably thousands of degrees. So, it's no wonder that intense heat fuels the violent weather on each planet.

Something similar might be happening on Neptune, although it's unclear as to whether it's liquid hydrogen, superheated water, or some combination of the two. Neptune has the most violent weather in the solar system, with winds of 1,250 mph. The Voyager probes detected a storm there called the Great Dark Spot, which had winds of 1,500 mph. It was the size of the Earth. That storm has since dissipated.
 
Originally posted by Laura Duchesne
www.spaceweather.com has one image of saturn with the lightning and an MP3 of the crackling on radio by lightning. Sounds really intense!

No-the picture you see (white dot on Saturn's globe) is the top of the actual thunderstorm.

Look at this picture of Jupiter. Night-time is at left. The white dots are lightning; look at the corresponding thunderclouds on the right.

daynight.jpg
 
That is some pretty amazing stuff!

I was always intrigued by meteorology and storms on earth, let alone on another planet! The gas giant planets are by far the most involved and "mysterious" meteorological environments around.

One thing for sure is that all "WEATHER" is driven on a gas-giant planet from heat energy radiated from WITHIN the planet, and NOT from "solar input" as with storms on earth. Sunlight is only 4% the strength of what it is on Earth at Jupiter's distance, so it wont do much. This energy (from within) is caused by GRAVITATIONAL compression (like when a bicycle pump gets warm from compressing the air).

However, this pressure is so high, millions of times sea-level on earth (like 5,000,000,000 millibars?) that the hydrogen is squeezed and heated so much it becomes a "liquid plasma" state of degenerative matter called "metallic hydrogen". Like a metal, this conducts electricity, and accounts for Jupiter's intense magnetic field. Saturn also has such a metallic hydrogen "envelope" but it is a lot smaller. Neptune and Uranus have small amounts of this material, but are smaller and contain more methane. Still, compression by gravity heats the interiors, and this heat radiates, then convects upwards causing "weather".

Just like water, any "phase change" (melting, evaporating, subliming, etc) of any other material other than water also releases LATENT HEAT energy. Hydrogen does this, as well as ammonia and methane as well, which can happen on the gas giant planets. There are even brown-dwarf stars that have IRON VAPOR convection in their "cool" (like 2,000 - 5,000 degrees) atmospheres.

Another very important thing is that planets like Jupiter have very fast rotation rates. Jupiter rotates every 10-11 hours (opposed to 24 hours on Earth) and is 1000 times the volume of earth. The CORIOLIS force on Jupiter is INCREDIBLE compared to earth, and super-hurricanes and storms are not of any suprise (even though its -200 below zero in the clouds).

The gallileo probe actually released a second "atmospheric probe" into Jupiters atmosphere. Although no cameras were mounted on it (there would not be much to see, kind of like looking out an aircraft window in clouds and seeing only the wing and grey nothing), it did take detailed pressure and wind measurements during its parachute descent once in Jupiters atmosphere.

The probe reached the 1000 MB level, below the tops of the clouds, the same pressure as what we would have at Earth sea-level. Winds were 200 MPH. Unexpected to scientists, thinking the winds would slow deeper down, the winds increased to 400 MPH at 20 times Earth's sea level pressure (20,000 MB or so)! The probe detected faint lightning flashes by radio but none off a visual photo device (not a camera, but a light transient sensor). Little water vaopr was detected, but it happened to enter a very "dry" area of the atmosphere. The gases were maily hydrogen, helium, methane, and ammonia. Clouds were frozen / condensed methand and ammonia (toxic!). At about 22 atmospheres (22,000 MB, or about 100 KM below the 1,000 MB level) the probe stopped transmitting and most likely burned up at over 300 degrees F.

If anyone wants to storm chase on a "gas giant" bring your pressure suit, rocket-powered plane (or oxygen-based fuel since the atmosphere will burn with that), and most importantly a gas mask and camera protection from the corrosive ammonia ;-)

Chris C - KG4PJN
 
Originally posted by cdcollura


The probe reached the 1000 MB level, below the tops of the clouds, the same pressure as what we would have at Earth sea-level. Winds were 200 MPH. Unexpected to scientists, thinking the winds would slow deeper down, the winds increased to 400 MPH at 20 times Earth's sea level pressure (20,000 MB or so)! The probe detected faint lightning flashes by radio but none off a visual photo device (not a camera, but a light transient sensor). Little water vaopr was detected, but it happened to enter a very "dry" area of the atmosphere. The gases were maily hydrogen, helium, methane, and ammonia. Clouds were frozen / condensed methand and ammonia (toxic!). At about 22 atmospheres (22,000 MB, or about 100 KM below the 1,000 MB level) the probe stopped transmitting and most likely burned up at over 300 degrees F.

If anyone wants to storm chase on a "gas giant" bring your pressure suit, rocket-powered plane (or oxygen-based fuel since the atmosphere will burn with that), and most importantly a gas mask and camera protection from the corrosive ammonia ;-)

Chris C - KG4PJN

More than likely, the titanium hull of the Galileo probe was the last thing to be destroyed. Titanium, as I understand it, melts at 3,100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it was most likely vaporized. The Galileo probe is now part of the volatile gases that churn in Jupiter's roiling atmosphere.
 
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