Sunday, May 14, 2017

Titanians won't be radiated....much

Positive news for Titan

Titan's atmosphere may be thick enough to protect residents from both solar rays as well as Saturn’s radiation belts.

Saturn has relatively weak radiation belts, because energetic particles are absorbed by the moons and particulate material orbiting the planet. ... The innermost region of the magnetosphere near the rings is generally devoid of energetic ions and electrons because they are absorbed by ring particles.


Here are some key facts:  Saturns Magnetic field is 600 times the strength of Earth's.

It is so large that all the moons are protected as well. (And Pan the space ship)

PlanetMagnetic Field Strength Relative to Earth

The magnetosphere is an area of space, around a planet, that is controlled by that planet's magnetic field.

Saturn is surrounded by a giant magnetic field, lined up with the rotation axis of the planet. This cannot be explained by current theories. Scientists had hoped Cassini might be able to explain how the puzzling magnetic field of Saturn is generated, but it better figure it out quick. It's running out of time.

This magnetic field may also cause strange features in the rings called ‘spokes’. These markings fall across the rings like spokes in a wheel and may be caused by electrically charged particles caught up in the magnetic field, but there are as yet no detailed theories about them.

The brief reconnaissance encounters of the Pioneer 11 and the two Voyager spacecraft have provided most of our current information about the structure and dynamics of Saturn's magnetosphere.

Here are some things that we do know:
  • Saturn's 'bow shock', the region point where the solar wind and the planet's magnetic field meet, much like the bow wave of a ship, is between 20 and 35 times Saturn's radius out into space.

  • The thickness of the bow shock is about 2000 kilometres.

  • Saturn's internal magnetic field is closely aligned with the planet's axis of rotation (within 1 degree).

  • Saturn's magnetosphere appears to be intermediate in nature to those of Earth and Jupiter. As with Jupiter's magnetosphere, the dayside inner magnetosphere is mostly driven by the fast planetary rotation. However at night, it is expected that the nightside and outer magnetosphere is primarily driven by the solar wind, as is the case on Earth.

  • There is an electrical current (the 'equatorial ring current') flowing with about 10,000,000 Amps around 600,000 kilometres above Saturn.

  • Saturn Kilometric Radiation (SKR) is the principal radio emission from Saturn. SKR is believed to be linked to the way electrons in the solar wind interact with the magnetic field at Saturn's poles.


  1. Oh cool ... real science! I believe that picture even has an equation or two.

    1. It may, but it's too blurry for me to read. lol

  2. I'm thoroughly enjoying this series on Titan. Good job, Liza.


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