Research Spotlight: North and south components of Saturn's radio emissions reversed



[1] Saturn is known to emit intense radio emissions at kilometer wavelengths from its auroral regions. Observations in recent years found that the Saturn kilometric radiation (SKR) emission from the northern auroral region has a clocklike modulation with a period of about 10.6 hours, while the SKR emission from the southern auroral region has a period of about 10.8 hours. Analyzing more recent observations from the Cassini spacecraft, Gurnett et al. have now found that the rotational modulation rates of the southern and northern components reversed shortly after Saturn's equinox on 11 August 2009, so that the southern hemisphere SKR now has the shorter rotation period. They also analyzed data from the Ulysses spacecraft to show that a similar reversal occurred during the previous equinox, in November 1995. (Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045796, 2010)