Sunday, 9 August 2015

New Enigma for Long Agers – Saturn Looks 2 Billion Years Too Young

Saturn looks too young for an old solar system. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Joel Kontinen

While most astronomers would say that the solar system is 4.5 billion years old, many planets, moons or other foreign worlds don’t look their assumed age.

A recent article in addresses the problem:

"Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source.

The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn's age. 'Models that correctly predict Jupiter to be 4.5 billion years old find Saturn to be only 2.5 billion years old,' says Thomas Mattsson, manager of the high-energy-density physics theory group at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories

Researchers suggest that the young looks of Saturn could be due to helium rain. What they did not question was the age of the solar system, which is even more suspect, as Mercury, Venus, Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa, Saturn’s moons Titan, Mimas and Enceladus, and Pluto also look too young for a “4.5 billion-year-old” solar system.


Hurst, Darrick. 2015. Sandia's Z machine helps solve Saturn's 2-billion-year age gap. (14 July).