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This figure illustrates the motions of the interior which contribute toward generating the magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Random House Atlas

The Generation of Saturn's Magnetosphere

Magnetospheres are generated with 1.) magnetic materials and 2.) with motions within the magnetic material.

The Earth-like planets generate magnetospheres from iron at the center.

But Saturn has almost no iron core. The magnetic material of Saturn is found within the liquid metallic shell. Motions within that shell produce the magnetic field.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Saturn, right under the atmosphere, is a layer of liquid hydrogen!. The air becomes thicker and thicker, like a dense fog, with more and more liquid drops, until the hydrogen...more

Saturn's Aurora

Have you ever seen the Southern or Northern Lights? Did you know that other planets (besides Earth) have them too? Scientists call these cosmic light shows the "aurora". Saturn is one of the planets that...more

Saturn's Plasmasphere

Saturn's plasmasphere is pretty big. Most of the plasma comes from the donut-shaped cloud of material from Titan and the other icy moons. Besides ions and electrons, the plasmasphere also contains very...more

Radio Signals of Saturn

La plasmasfera de Saturno es bastante grande. La mayoría del plasma proviene de una nube con forma de rosca (toroide) de material de Titán y otras lunas heladas. Aparte de iones y electrones, la plasmasfera...more

An Overview of Motions in Saturn's Atmosphere

The most important motions in the atmosphere are winds. The major winds in Saturn's atmosphere are the zonal winds which are made of zones and belts. Zones and belts blow in opposite directions around...more

Saturn's Belts and Zones

The clouds on Saturn, like Jupiter, are divided into stripes called "belts and zones". In a belt, very powerful winds blow one way. In a zone, very powerful winds blow the other way. These kinds of winds...more

The position of Saturn when gas changed to ice

The position of the planets in the solar nebula affected how big they became and what they were made of. The blue line in the picture shows where it became so cold that ice began to form. Planets that...more

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