Its raining … rain.

It raining on Saturn.  Since scientists first saw three dark bands on Saturn during the 1980’s flyby of Voyager, there was a theory that the bands were caused by rain.

The bands were not seen again until April 2011, when new observations of Saturn in the near-infrared wavelengths using the W.M Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii.

The rain’s effect occurs in Saturn’s ionosphere, where charged particles are produced.  The “rain” of charged water particles falls into Saturn’s atmosphere creating the dark bands.  It turns out that the rings of Saturn, some 36,000 miles overhead, are to blame for the rain.  Because the rings block solar radiation, the water particles become charged and fall back to Saturn.

Well, at least it isn’t raining men…hallelujah.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +