Image saturn


Saturn, the sixth planet in the Solar System, is about 10 Astronomical units away from the Sun, which corresponds to about 3000 billion footsteps. It is the second largest planet, after Jupiter, and it has a radius of about 60000 km.

A series of ellipses around the planet’s circumference are immediately noticeable from the figure. The ellipses are the most spectacular characteristic of Saturn, these rings are wrapped completely around the planet. They are made up from minute solid fragments, the rings are very thin with a maximum thickness of 10 km, and their mass is unimportant when compared to that of Saturn.

The figure shows that Saturn’s atmosphere, like Jupiter’s, is a complex structure of bands. These bands are due to the short time that it takes Saturn to complete one rotation, less than 10 hours.

Saturn, like the other gas giants Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, does not have a solid surface but is mainly made up of hydrogen and helium, that at great depths becomes liquid because of the enormous pressure it undergoes.

The NASA/ ESA mission Cassini Huygens has been giving us important new information about Saturn and its satellites. In particular the presence of liquid methane on the surface of Titan, Saturn’s biggest satellite, has been confirmed.

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