36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 18 Outer Planets
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[18.11] Cloud and Wind Variability in Saturnís Equatorial Jet prior to the Cassini orbital tour

A. Sánchez-Lavega, S. Pérez-Hoyos, R. Hueso, J. F. Rojas (Univ. Pais Vasco (Spain)), R. G. French (Wellesley College (USA))

We use ground-based observations (going back to 1876), Pioneer-11 data (1979), Voyager 1 and 2 encounter images in 1980 and 1981, and HST 1990-2004 images, to study the changes that occurred in the vertical cloud structure and morphology and motions, in Saturn's Equatorial Region (approximately the band between latitudes 40 deg North and South). We compare ``calm periods" with ``stormy periods" i. e. those that occur during the development of the phenomenon known as the ``Great White Spots." We discuss different interpretations of the mechanisms that can be involved in the observed changes: vertical wind shears, waves, storm Ė mean flow interaction and changes in atmospheric angular momentum.

Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Spanish MCYT AYA 2003-03216. SPH acknowledges a PhD fellowship from the Spanish MECD and RH a post-doc fellowship from Gobierno Vasco. RGF was supported in part by NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program NAG5-10197 and STSCI Grant GO-08660.01A.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.