Last updated on April 12th, 2017 at 04:35 am
There are eight planets (Pluto was consider a planet between 1930 and 2006, and is currently considered a dwarf planet) in our Solar System and a megastar – the Sun. While all planets revolve around the Sun in different orbits, there are few that have distinctive features as compared to that of the others. With these interesting facts about Saturn, let’s gather more information about this gas giant.
1. They call it beautiful: Saturn is also known as the “Jewel of the Solar System,” because of its beautiful rings and appearance.
“PIONEER 11 WAS THE FIRST SPACECRAFT TO REACH SATURN.”
2. It’s far: it is the 6th planet from the Sun and also the farthest that can be seen with naked eye.
3. The direction of rotation: Saturn rotates from West to East which is also the direction of Earth’s rotation.
4. Massive in size: in size, Saturn is the 2nd largest of all planets, behind Jupiter.
5. Rings are many and spectacular: Saturn is famous for its rings that are huge but very thin.
6. How many rings? Saturn has seven main rings with spaces between them.
Also read: facts about Uranus
7. The composition like that of Jupiter: composition of Saturn is not much different from that of Jupiter. Is also contains hydrogen and helium; and methane in small proportions.
8. Why is it flat at the poles? it is the flattest of all planets in the Solar System. Because of its high speed of rotation and gaseous composition, Saturn has observed this form. To give you more detail about this, note that the distance from the planet’s center to its equator is 60,300 km while that from its center to its poles is 54,000 km.
9. Days at Saturn: Saturn has the second shortest day behind Jupiter. The length of a day on Saturn is 10 hours 32 minutes; and, did you know how scientists measure this data from various planets? They just spot a crater and wait for the crater to rotate back in view, thus determining the length of a day on a planet. However, in Saturn’s case, as there is no solid mass on the planet, they had to take into account the planet’s magnetic field for that matter.
10. Around the Sun: due to the enormous distance at which the planet is positioned with respect to the Sun, Saturn takes 29.4 Earth years to make one revolution around the Sun.
11. Days vs years: on Saturn, days are short and years are long as compared to that on the Earth.
12. Visitors to the planet: only four space crafts have studied this planet. This might be due to the fact that it is at a long distance from Earth as compared to other planets. And they do not have any landing site on the planet because of the lack of solid surface. And the planet’s hot gasses won’t even allow any spacecraft unscathed either.
13. Windy and noisy: winds on Saturn can blow as fast as 1800 km per hour while that on the Earth are slower than this.
14. ‘Saturn vs Earth’ in size: given Saturn’s diameter, almost 750 Earths could fit in Saturn and 1600 Saturns could fit inside of the Sun.
15. Day of the week: Saturday–the 6th day of the week–is named after Saturn.
16. A popular moon: Enceladus — one of Saturns’ moon — is the shiniest object in the Solar system. It is mainly because of the fact that it is made up mostly of ice that reflects almost all of the light that falls onto it.
17. A powerful magnetic: Saturn’s magnetic field is 578 times more powerful than Earth’s magnetic field.
18. History speaks: Saturn was mentioned in the oldest written records by the Assyrians from 700 BCE. They named Saturn, “Star of Ninib”, a sparkle in the night sky.
19. Naming the planet: its name comes from: Saturn is named after the Roman god of Farming – Saturn.
20. Atmosphere matters for life: Titan, another of Saturn’s moon is the only moon to have a substantial atmosphere. Its atmosphere is 370 miles deep.
21. Comparing the moons: Titan is also the second largest moon in the solar system after Jupiters’ Ganymede. And it is larger than Mercury (the smallest planet in the Solar System.)
22. Seasons: Saturn generates its own heat and seasons on the planet are not dependent on the Sun. This could be because of its long distance from the Sun.
23. Hot or cold: -178 degree Celsius is the average temperature on Saturn.
24. A pressure cooker: atmospheric pressure on Saturn is 100 times than that on the Earth.
25. Core’s temperature: Saturn’s core is as hot as the Sun.
Also read: facts about Mars
26. How fast? Saturns’ average velocity is 9.64 km per second while that of Earth’s is 30 km per second.
27. Light or heavy? Saturn is the least dense planet in the solar system. It can easily float in a pool of water, provided we could build one to accommodate a planet of this size in it.
28. Sky gazing: with the help of a telescope, Saturn’s rings can be easily seen from Earth.
29. Constituents of its rings: did you know that Saturn’s rings contain particles that can be as small as dust particles and as large as mountains?
30. Ring vs ring: there are many rings that revolve around Saturn and interestingly, their speed varies. The difference in the speed of these rings could be because of the difference in the weight of the particles that are revolving in them.
31. At its core: rock, ice, and water — at the center of Saturn under intense pressure and heat, make for a solid core.
32. What color: Saturn is light brown in color.
33. How its rings came into existence: the planet’s rings were formed from asteroids, comets, and moons that were shattered by the massive Saturns’ powerful gravity.
34. Galileo’s observation: when Galileo Galilei first observed Saturn in 1610, he saw a pair of an object on either side of the planet, which led him to draw the conclusion that Saturn was triple-bodied. Of course, his observations were limited due to his use of a basic telescope that did not have high magnifying powers as compared to the one that was later used by Christiaan Huygens to conclude that Saturn had rings around it.
35. Distance from the Sun: about 1.4 billion km (886 million miles) or 9.5 AU.
36. NASA’s Cassini–the nuclear-powered–aircraft will be destroyed by the US space exploration agency on 15th September 2017. NASA has to take this step in order to defend life on Saturns’ moon–Enceladus–where they suppose Alien life exists. If the spacecraft is not destroyed in a controlled fashion, chances are that it will hit this moon and may cause damage to alien life which scientist think is in existence on Enceladus. The Cassini spacecraft is a hefty $3.26 billion investment which NASA had put into orbit in 2004 after its launch in 1997.
Quick facts about Saturn
|Date of Discovery||Unknown|
|Discovered by||Known by the Ancients|
|Orbit around Sun||1,426,666,422 km|
|Volume||827,129,915,150,897 cubic kilometer|
|Density||0.687 g per cubic meter|
|Surface area||42,612,133,285 kilometer square|
|Surface gravity||10.4 meter per second square|
|Escape velocity||129,924 km/h|
|Effective temperature||-178 degree Celcius|
|Tilt of axis||26.7 degrees|
|Mean orbit velocity||34,701 km/h|
|Equatorial Radius||58,232 km|