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This is a drawing depicting the motions in earth's atmosphere.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Random House Atlas

Motions in Saturn's Interior

Motions in the interior of a planet help carry heat from the inside to the outside.

The drawing to the left illustrates a kind of global motion that is typical of motions in the atmosphere as well as interior of a planet. Material rises from where it is warmest, and moves in a roiling motion like the boiling of a pot. In the drawing, there are three different cells of activity in the atmosphere where the air turns over (depicted by red sheets).

In the interior of Saturn, the liquid layers are warm enough to move in this fashion. Some scientists think, however, that the heat from within Saturn causes different sorts of motions.

In any case, the enormous magnetosphere of Saturn is produced by motions in the liquid metallic hydrogen layer inside Saturn.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA