Astronomers have known for many years that the top of Saturn's atmosphere is water, but they could not pinpoint the location of the source of this water. Now, new observations have revealed that the water is poured rain on the surface of Saturn and its source - the famous rings of the giant planet.
"Saturn - is the first planet that demonstrates an active interaction between the atmosphere and ring system - said James O'Donoghue, a researcher from the University of Leicester and author of a new paper published in the journal Nature.
The main action which renders it rain on Saturn's ionosphere - it "extinguishes" it, significantly reducing the electron density in the areas where it falls. "
Using the Keck Observatory, O'Donoghue and his research team found the charged particles of water falling into the atmosphere of Saturn's rings it. They also discovered that the extent of the zone, which is observed this phenomenon, is much broader than previously thought.
O'Donoghue said that the study of the effect of rings on the electronic density is important because it explains why for many decades observation showed abnormally low electron density at certain latitudes of Saturn.