Studies on the Rings of  Saturn

Vladimir V. Tchernyi
Andrew Ju. Pospelov
Serge V. Girich

A program of investigation of Saturn’s rings must include experiments in superconductivity. The authors’ hypothesis of the superconductive material states of the rings of Saturn makes it possible to add to classical planetary ring theory a non-conflicting superdiamagnetic model. By incorporating the physical effects and phenomena associated with superconductors during interaction with the magnetic field, many problems of planetary ring behavior will be solved.

Of the problems and answering hypotheses put forward by the authors, the four following examples address the physical effect of the planet’s rings:


Thesis: Orientation of elongated particles is normal to the magnetic field lines.

For an explanation of the phenomenon of the variable azimuth brightness of Saturn’s A ring, hypotheses based on the assumption of synchronous rotation of particles, or with the asymmetrical form as extended ellipsoids, or with asymmetrical albedo of the surface, were put forth.


Fig 8.1. Orientation of the prism of superconducting ice in the magnetic field of Saturn.

The phenomenon of diamagnetism consists in the following: in substance placed in the magnetic field, the additional magnetic moment directed opposite to field arises. The body is magnetized not along the field but against the field. The rod of diamagnetic substance is established perpendicularly to the magnetic field lines.

The magnetic field of the space body contains as constituents a polhodal field with field lines directed on meridians as dipole, and a toroidal field with field lines directed along parallels.

It is also known that at temperatures below -22oC growing snowflakes get the form of prisms7. Thus, the prism of superconducting ice will be orientated perpendicularly to field lines of polhodal (HP) and toroidal (HT) constituents of the magnetic fields of Saturn.


Thesis: Push-out of superconducting particles from the rings plane or their reorientation by magnetic anomaly.

Spokes in the ring B of Saturn, as well as the spokes of any wheel, are  located almost along radii . It must be said that the existence of radial structures in a planetary ring throws a call to all traditional representations. The fact is that according to the laws of Kepler, the areas of the wide B ring farther from a planet rotate slower than those placed nearer. Therefore any  radial formation should be distorted and washed out for a few tens of minutes.  The characteristic sizes of ‘spokes’ are about 104 km along radius and about 103  km along the orbit of the ring. They consist of micron and submicron  particles.

Until recently, the structure of the rings of Saturn was explained exclusively as the action of gravitational forces. However as soon as ‘spokes’  were found, there was an assumption that they are connected to electromagnetic interaction, as they rotate almost synchronously with the magnetosphere of Saturn.

Analysis of spectral-emitted radiant power of the spokes gives a characteristic periodicity 640 ,6+-3,5 min, which agrees closely to the period of rotation of the magnetic field of Saturn: -639 ,4mines15. Moreover, there exists  a strong correlation of mixima and minima of activity of spokes with the special  magnetic longitudes connected to presence or absence of the SKR radiation. This  confirms the assumption of communication of the spokes with the magnetic field  of Saturn and testifies to the presence of large-scale anomalies in the magnetic field of Saturn[1].

It is difficult to give a detailed analysis of the formation of spokes as we don’t know which script is realized. Definitely it is possible to say, that the  hypothesis about the superdiamagnetic condition of the substance in the rings of Saturn can work both for the orientation hypothesis of spokes formation, and for  the levitation one.


Thesis: The existence of critical frequency (~1011 Hz) above which electromagnetic waves are absorbed and below which ones are fully reflected.


The opening of strong radar-tracking reflection from rings of Saturn in 1973 was surprising[2]. It turned out that the rings of Saturn actually have the greatest radar-tracking section among all the bodies of our solar system. Originally high reflection and small brightness of ring particles to radio waves implied that the ring particles consisted of metals[2]. The data from Voyager I and II later excluded this possibility.

A disk of superconducting particles will completely reflect radiation with frequencies <1011 Hz ,and poorly reflect radiation with frequencies >1011 Hz. This is connected with the fact that radiation is strongly absorbed when the energy of photons is great enough to throw electrons through energetic slits. As in superconductors, the absorption begins at frequencies greater than 1011 Hz.

Let’s apply a variable field to the superconductor. If the frequency of the applied field is rather high, the superconductor behaves as a normal substance. This occurs because at rather high frequencies of the applied field the superconducting electrons, being in a lower energetic state than normal electrons, are excited by photons of the applied field where they behave like normal electrons. This occurs at frequencies greater than 1011 Hz (that is higher than the frequency of a very long wave in the infrared area). The properties of a superconductor under optical frequencies do not differ, therefore, from the properties of a normal substance. And, for example , any visual changes are not observed in a superconductor under its cooling at temperature below the superconducting transition temperature[3].

The superconductors of type I practically have no resistance up to frequencies of 100 Mhz[4]. At a frequency of about 100 Ghz there comes a limit, above which the frequent quantum effects cause a rapid increase in resistance.


Fig.3: (Top) Brightness temperature of rings when the lengths of waves are from 10:m up to 10cm. Transition from radiation of a black body (100 micron) to practically complete reflection is observed.
(Bottom): Surface resistance of superconductor (niobium) as a function of frequency at temperature 4.2 ºK.
To understand these two dependencies the following explanation is necessary: according to Kirchhoff’s radiation law, a body which under a given frequency and temperature absorbs more radiation should more heavily radiate, and vice versa.


Thesis: Generation of electromagnetic waves by Josephson’s contact with  frequency 4 ,83594. 1014 Hz/V – non-stationary Josephson effect.

‘Voyager’ research has shown that the rings radiate strong electromagnetic waves which are probably (a) the result of interaction between charged particles of ice, or (b) a result of destruction and friction among ice particles when collisions occur. If this is the case, then it is probably necessary to admit that the complex movement of the particles that form the rings of Saturn, depends not only on mechanical forces which have been previously taken into account, but also on other interactions, for example, on electromagnetic ones[5].

During both encounters of the ‘Voyagers’ with Saturn planetary radio-astronomy, the experiment (PRA) has shown fixed, non-polarized, very broadband radio radiation, through all observable ranges of the experiment (20,4 kHz-40,2 MHz). These incidental radio discharges are called Saturn’s electrostatic charges (SED). The average period of SED was determined by Voyager I and II to be 10 hour 10+-5 min. If the ring is a source of SED, the area of the source can be located at a distance of 107,990-109,200 km from the planet according to measured periodicity[6].

The authors’ explanation: The approach of superconductors up to a distance of about 10-10 m, or, the existence of narrow or dot contact, will result in forming a “weak link” (superconducting transition) through which superconducting electrons can be tunnelled. When the difference of phases between superconductors under the action

of the electrical or magnetic field occurs, the weak link will generate electromagnetic radiation with frequency proportional to the loss of power in this transition. The ratio between frequency n and voltage in transition V looks like n=2eV/h, where e is a charge of an electron and h is a Planck constant. The ratio 2e/h is equal to 483,6 MHz/mV[7].



1. L.W. Esposito, J.N. Cuzzi, J.B. Holberg, E.A. Marouf, G.L. Tyler, C.C.  Porco, “Saturn’s Rings, Stucture, Dynamics and Particle Properties”, Saturn, T.Gehrels, M.S. Matthews (eds.), Univ. Of Arizona Press, Tucson,  pp. 463-545, 1984.

2. R.M. Goldstein, G.A. Morris, ” Radar Observations of the Rings of Saturn,” Icarus, 20, p .249-283, 1973.

3. N.N. Gor’kavyi, A.M. Fridman, Physics of the Planetary Rings: Celestial  Mechanics of Continuous Medium, Nauka, Moscow, 348 p. 1994.

4. A.Ju. Pospelov, V.V. Tchernyi, “Electromagnetic properties of material  forecast in the planet rings by methods of functional physics analysis”. Proceedings of the International Scientific -Methodical Conference “Innovative Design in Education, Technics, and Technologies,” VSTU, Volgograd, Russia, pp.75-77, 1995.

5. N. Maeno, “Science about Ice” (translat. from Jap.), Moscow, Mir, p.231, 1988

6. D.A. Mendis, J.R. Hill, W.H. Ip, C.K. Gorertz, and E. Grün, Electrodynamic Processes in the Ring System of Saturn, T. Gehrels, M.  Mathews (eds.), The Univ. Of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp.546-589 1984.

7. M.L. Kaiser, V.D. Desch, A. Lecacheus, “Saturnian Kilometric Radiation: Statistical Properties and Beam Geometry,” Nature, 292, pp.731-733, 1981.