The interior of saturn

William B. Hubbard, Michele K. Dougherty, Daniel Gautier, Robert Jacobson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


A source of uncertainty in Saturn interior models is the lack of a unique rotation rate to be ascribed to the deep (metallic-hydrogen) interior. As a result, models are not uniquely constrained by measured gravitational multiple coefficients. Further uncertainty is associated with the effect of a multiplicity of rotation periods due to zonal flows of unknown magnitude and depth (and therefore unknown mass). Nevertheless, the inference that Saturn has a large core of mass 15-20 M e (Earth masses) is robust. The equation of state of dense hydrogen-helium mixtures is one area where uncertainty has been much reduced, thanks to new first-principles simulations. However, because there is still uncertainty in Saturn's interior temperature profile, a variety of mantle metallicities and core masses could still fit the constraints, and the question of interior helium separation is still unsettled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSaturn from Cassini-Huygens
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781402092169
StatePublished - 2009


  • Jupiter interior
  • Saturn atmosphere
  • Saturn interior
  • Saturn rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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