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NASA Cassini Spacecraft: Saturn, Sun Share 8300Km-Wide Magnetic Rope FTE; Earth, Mercury Share Too

First Posted: Jul 13, 2016 06:28 AM EDT
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Saturn and the Sun has a magnetic rope between them. The Saturn and Sun's twisted magnetic field structure is known as flux transfer events (FTEs). This phenomenon has been observed on Earth and Mercury, as well.

Saturn and Sun's magnetic rope could be 8300 kilometers wide. It was also compared to that of a model to show that NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully identified the existence of a flux rope at this giant magnetosphere. Reportedly, the continuous research for this phenomena is elusive.

According to the NASA's Cassini spacecraft mission, the Sun's magnetic field that interacts with the Earth's magnetic field (the magnetosphere) causes a magnetic reconnection. This complex process twists the magnetic field into a helical structure forming a rope-like structure, UCL reported.

Jamie Jasinski, UCL Space and Climate Physics Ph.D. graduate, who is currently working at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, said that the present findings describe that Saturn at times behaves and interacts with the Sun in much the same way as Earth. This is in contrary to the past findings of Saturn's magnetosphere being unlike on its terrestrial counterpart, Science Daily reported.

The NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been on probe around Saturn since 2004 before the discovery that the planet has flux transfer events. According to reports, Cassini has successfully passed close to the field's center.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft mission has not published any formal findings of its mission yet to date. The mission is set to be completed in November 2017, when the Cassini spacecraft will be landing to the planet Saturn.

Saturn and the Sun's magnetic rope, a never before discovered by scientists, was possible through the use of particle spectrometer built under by the University College London and magnetometer by Imperial College. Both facilities are onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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