Saturn is Cold….or Hot!

Do you see a glow on the top of the planet Saturn? It is an aurora or gas cloud that glows from sunlight blasting away at the atmosphere. It was once thought that these upper atmosphere gas clouds were cold (-100 degrees or less). Information from the orbiting Voyager 1970 spacecraft reported much higher temperatures at 100-350 degrees. How could it be both? The Cassini spacecraft that had orbited Saturn in the 2000’s provided some possible answers. The area around the poles and the aurora was the hot spot and other areas showed lower temperatures. Problem solved?

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