Saturn’s position was pinpointed with an accuracy of one mile using a cross match of data from the Cassini spacecraft – which has been in Saturn’s orbit for 10 years now - and NRAO’s VLBA – an array radio antennae spread over North America. Dayton Jones led the study and it was published in The Astronomical journal.
So why is this important? Well, besides than knowing technology is advancing at a fast pace we now have accurate data about one of the outer planets which will help scientists understand orbits of planets and how they interact with the space around them.
Jones stated in his studies that even though until now only they only had clear data about the orbits of the inner planets which are tied together better, however they did not have any data on the outer planet’s orbits.
He continues to say that this is a great feat because now scientists can better study the rings and how light interacts with them. Also they will have better opportunities of studying and experimenting with pulsars – stars that emit electromagnetic radiation – and better test the relativity theory – issued by Albert Einstein on a theoretical basis – through the use of quasars.
The most tangible outcome of this finding is that it will help with better planning of spacecraft trajectories which has already been done with the Cassini who now orbits Saturn more precisely. Scientists say that they will use the same technology and method for Jupiter next. This way we will in some time have an accurate map of our solar system.
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