Fact: General facts about Saturn

Abstract:

Saturn is the 6th planet from the Sun, as well as the second of the gas giants. While it is slightly smaller in diameter than the largest planet Jupiter, it has the appearance of being much bigger because of a very thin layer of rings circling the planet’s equator. These are made of icy rock, and drift slightly over time.

Facts About Saturn

Name Origin: Roman. Saturn was named in ancient times after the Roman god of agriculture. It has always been observed by cultures studying the sky, as it is the furthest planet that can be seen by the naked eye.

Size: Average Diameter 122,000km, Mass of approximately 5.68 x 10^26 Kg. Saturn is more than 8 times as wide as Earth, and could fit more than 750 Earths inside of it. The rings can be as wide as 280,000km in diameter, which is 3/4th of the way between the Earth and the Moon!

Gravity: 1.06g. Even though Saturn is very large, it has a low density and almost the exact same gravity as Earth!

Temperature: Although we cannot measure easily into Saturn’s clouds, the Temperature in the upper atmosphere can be a chilly -140 degrees C!

Days: Rotational period 10.7 hours. Although the very large in size, Saturn spins so quickly that it makes more than two revolutions per one Earth day!

Orbit: Semi Major Axis: 3 Billion km, Orbital Period 10,750 days. Saturn is more than 10 times as far away from the Sun as the Earth is, and a single year on Saturn takes more than 29 years on Earth!

Atmosphere: Hydrogen, Helium. Since Saturn has no rocky surface some might say the entire planet is just atmosphere. Scientists consider the first 1,000km of to be the upper atmosphere.

Visible Features: Beyond the very striking rings circling the planet, Saturn also has storms that occasionally cover large parts of the surface clouds. It has a vortex like storm at each of the two poles, and the North polar vortex is shaped like a hexagon!

Fun facts: The huge rings of Saturn a split into many bands. These are grouped into 14 different subdivisions by scientists and can be very thin. Even though the rings can be hundreds of thousands of kilometers across, they average only 20 meters thick!

To learn more about Saturn visit:

  • Planet Saturn Overview

http://www.nasa.gov/Saturn