37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 30 Outer Planets
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[30.03] Cassini Observations Suggesting Lightning on Saturn

U. Dyudina, A. P. Ingersoll (Caltech), C. C. Porco (Space Science Inst.), N. Desch (NASA/GSFC), G. Fisher (Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria)

We present Cassini observations suggesting thunderstorms and lightning on Saturn. Every few months a distinct bright cloud resembling terrestrial thunderstorms appears on Saturn and lasts for several weeks as seen by the Cassini ISS images. At about the same times the Cassini RPWS instrument detects Saturn electrostatic discharges (SED's), which are short bursts - tens of milliseconds in duration, with large bandwidth - spanning 2-40 MHz in frequency. The timing of the cloud appearance from behind the horizon every Saturnian day correlates with the timing of the SED observations. This suggests that the SED's may be produced by lightning in the cloud.

We will discuss the year 2004 results described in Porco et al.,Science 307, 2005, and new observations taken in 2005.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.