Shadows and ‘ring rain’ affect electron levels in the planet’s ionosphere, final Cassini data suggest
JPL-Caltech/NASA, Space Science Institute
NEW ORLEANS — Saturn’s mighty rings cast a long shadow on the gas giant — and not just in visible light.
Final observations from the Cassini spacecraft show that the rings block the sunlight that charges particles in Saturn’s atmosphere. The rings may even be raining charged water particles onto the planet, researchers report online December 11 in Science and at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.