Hot plasma zone near Saturn



Investigators using data collected by Voyager 2 during its flyby of Saturn this past August have found a place in the solar system containing the hottest gas yet observed. Temperatures in a region of space around Saturn range from 300 million to nearly 1 billion° C. The hot gas is an enormous doughnut-shaped region encircling Saturn at an altitude ranging from 273,600 km above the planet's cloud top to as high as 724,000 km.

The discovery was announced at a colloquium at the Applied Physics Laboratory of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, by S. M. Krimigis, chief scientist of the Applied Physics Laboratory Space Department, who is principal investigator of the Voyager Low-Energy Charged-Particle Experiment, which made the observations. The measurements were analyzed by a team that includes investigators from The Johns Hopkins University, the universities of Maryland and Kansas, Bell Telephone Laboratories, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.