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Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the most distant that can be seen with the naked eye.
It is best known for its fabulous ring system that was discovered in 1610 by the astronomer
Galileo Galilei.
Planet Profile
Mass: 568,319,000,000,000,000 billion kg (95.16 x Earth)
Equatorial Diameter: 120,536 km
Polar Diameter: 108,728 km
Equatorial Circumference: 365,882 km
Known Moons: 62
Notable Moons: Titan, Rhea & Enceladus
Known Rings: 30+ (7 Groups)
Orbit Distance: 1,426,666,422 km (9.58 AU)
Orbit Period: 10,755.70 Earth days (29.45 Earth years)
Surface Temperature: -139 C
First Record: 8th century BC
Recorded By: Assyrians
Size Of Saturn Compared To The Earth

Facts About Saturn

Saturn can be seen with the naked eye:
It is the fifth brightest object in the solar system and is also easily studied through binoculars or a
small telescope.

Saturn was known to the ancients, including the Babylonians and Far Eastern observers:
It is named for the Roman god Saturnus, and was known to the Greeks as Cronus.
Saturn is the flattest planet:
Its polar diameter is 90% of its equatorial diameter, this is due to its low density and fast rotation.
Saturn turns on its axis once every 10 hours and 34 minutes giving it the second-shortest day of
any of the solar systems planets.
Saturn orbits the Sun once every 29.4 Earth years:
Its slow movement against the backdrop of stars earned it the nickname of Lubadsagush from
the ancient Assyrians. The name means oldest of the old.
Saturns upper atmosphere is divided into bands of clouds:
The top layers are mostly ammonia ice. Below them, the clouds are largely water ice. Below are
layers of cold hydrogen and sulfur ice mixtures.
Saturn has oval-shaped storms similar to Jupiters:
The region around its north pole has a hexagonal-shaped pattern of clouds. Scientists think this
may be a wave pattern in the upper clouds. The planet also has a vortex over its south pole that
resembles a hurricane-like storm.
Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen:
It exists in layers that get denser farther into the planet. Eventually, deep inside, the hydrogen
becomes metallic. At the core lies a hot interior.
Saturn has the most extensive rings in the solar system:
The Saturnian rings are made mostly of chunks of ice and small amounts of carbonaceous dust.
The rings stretch out more than 120,700 km from the planet, but are are amazingly thin: only
about 20 meters thick.
Saturn has 150 moons and smaller moonlets:
All are frozen worlds. The largest moons are Titan and Rhea. Enceladus appears to have an
ocean below its frozen surface.
Titan is a moon with complex and dense nitrogen-rich atmosphere:
It is composed mostly of water ice and rock. Its frozen surface has lakes of liquid methane and
landscapes covered with frozen nitrogen. Planetary scientists consider Titan to be a possible
harbour for life, but not Earth-like life.
Four spacecraft have visited Saturn:
Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and 2, and the Cassini-Huygens mission have all studied the planet.
Cassini continues to orbit Saturn, sending back a wealth of data about the planet, its moons, and

The rings of Saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar
System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometres to metres,

that orbit about Saturn. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice, with a trace

component of rocky material. There is still no consensus as to their mechanism of formation;

some features of the rings suggest a relatively recent origin, but theoretical models indicate they
are likely to have formed early in the Solar System's history.[2]
Although reflection from the rings increases Saturn's brightness, they are not visible from Earth
with unaided vision. In 1610, the year after Galileo Galilei first turned atelescope to the sky, he
became the very first person to observe Saturn's rings, though he could not see them well enough
to discern their true nature. In 1655,Christiaan Huygens was the first person to describe them as a
disk surrounding Saturn.[3] Although many people think of Saturn's rings as being made up of a
series of tiny ringlets (a concept that goes back to Laplace),[3] true gaps are few. It is more correct
to think of the rings as an annular disk with concentric local maxima and minima in density and
brightness.[2] On the scale of the clumps within the rings there is much empty space.
The rings have numerous gaps where particle density drops sharply: two opened by known
moons embedded within them, and many others at locations of known destabilizing orbital
resonances withSaturn's moons. Other gaps remain unexplained. Stabilizing resonances, on the
other hand, are responsible for the longevity of several rings, such as the Titan Ringlet and the G
Well beyond the main rings is the Phoebe ring, which is tilted at an angle of 27 degrees to the
other rings and, like Phoebe, orbits in retrograde fashion.