Polar Heat on Saturn

On the Earth and other bodies with poles, the polar regions are their coldest locations. While 91 Kelvin (-296 degrees Fahrenheit) may be colder than most people can imagine, Saturn’s south pole turns out to be the hottest spot on the planet. In a surprising discovery by the W.M. Keck I Observatory at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, temperature emissions were found to abruptly change at various latitudes on Saturn. Why the pole should be warmer than lower latitudes is not understood. Saturn has now become the only known body in our solar system with this characteristic.

Richard Leis

Richard Leis

Richard Leis (he/him/his) lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes poetry and fiction, attends and teaches writing workshops at the Writers Studio Tucson, and works for HiRISE, a team in the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona with a camera in orbit around Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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