Resonance in Saturn's Atmosphere

Saturn's Strange Hot Spot

Keck Observatory, Hawaii
February 04, 2005

Astronomers using the Keck I telescope in Hawaii are learning much more about a strange, thermal "hot spot" on Saturn that is located at the tip of the planet's south pole. In what the team is calling the sharpest thermal views of Saturn ever taken from the ground, the new set of infrared images suggest a warm polar vortex at Saturn's south pole -- the first to ever be discovered in the solar system. This warm polar cap is home to a distinct compact hot spot, believed to contain the highest measured temperatures on Saturn. A paper announcing the results appears in the Feb. 4th issue of "Science."

A "polar vortex" is a persistent, large-scale weather pattern, likened to a jet stream on Earth that occurs in the upper atmosphere. On Earth, the Arctic Polar Vortex is typically located over eastern North America in Canada and plunges cold artic air to the Northern Plains in the United States. Earth's Antarctic Polar Vortex, centered over Antarctica, is responsible for trapping air and creating unusual chemistry, such as the effects that create the "ozone hole." Polar vortices are found on Earth, Jupiter, Mars and Venus, and are colder than their surroundings. But new images from the W. M. Keck Observatory show the first evidence of a polar vortex at much warmer temperatures. And the warmer, compact region at the pole itself is quite unusual.

"There is nothing like this compact warm cap in the Earth's atmosphere," said Dr. Glenn S. Orton, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and lead author of the paper describing the results. "Meteorologists have detected sudden warming of the pole, but on Earth this effect is very short-term. This phenomenon on Saturn is longer-lived because we've been seeing hints of it in our data for at least two years."

The puzzle isn't that Saturn's south pole is warm; after all, it has been exposed to 15 years of continuous sunlight, having just reached its summer Solstice in late 2002. But both the distinct boundary of a warm polar vortex some 30 degrees latitude from the southern pole and a very hot "tip" right at the pole were completely unexpected.

"If the increased southern temperatures are solely the result of seasonality, then the temperature should increase gradually with increasing latitude, but it doesn't," added Dr. Orton. "We see that the temperature increases abruptly by several degrees near 70 degrees south and again at 87 degrees south."

The abrupt temperature changes may be caused by a concentration of sunlight-absorbing particulates in the upper atmosphere which trap in heat at the stratosphere. This theory explains why the hot spot appears dark in visible light and contains the highest measured temperatures on the planet. However, this alone does not explain why the particles themselves are constrained to the general southern part of Saturn and particularly to a compact area near the tip of Saturn's south pole. Forced downwelling of relatively dry air would explain this effect, which is consistent with other observations taken of the tropospheric clouds, but more observations are needed...


Saturn's thermal south polar vortex, storm rings and north polar hexagon are explainable as nonlinear standing wave resonances forming within the structure of Magnetic Resonance compared above and mathematically presented through this site. The comparative image shows the Keck Observatory's false-color infrared imaging of Saturn at right and the Magnetic Resonance pattern at left to reveal the correlating symmetry of ringed Fibonacci banding.

The nonlinear infrasound standing wave resonance on Saturn defines the relative nonlinear positions of the latitudinal rings, with the hottest belts between the 19th and 21st latitudes north and south.

The same resonance pattern also underlies the vortical storm activity on Jupiter, whose giant Red Spot was just joined by a smaller red companion vortex on April 8, 2006. An identical comparison with the other gas planets reconfirms the correlation; in the ringed spectral shifts of Uranus and infrared imaging of Saturn's largest moon Titan.

This infrasound resonance pattern has also been observed for short periods on Earth and dictates the geopositions of the pyramids of the world, with the Orion pyramids of Giza, Egypt at the centerpoint. The oncoming solar-system-wide magnetic reversal of December 22, 2012 may influence the atmospheric cloud patterns of Earth to become similar to those of Titan, with patterns of glowing plasma forming in the skies - seen as brilliant luminous spots like standing aurora.