Saturday, 18 April 2009

Saturn - Some facts

With Saturn still very visible in the night sky at the moment, I thought a few facts, ten in fact would be appropriate.
  1. Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system. It is so big Earth could fit into it 755 times
  2. Saturn is a slightly smaller version of Jupiter, with similar, but not so distinctive surface patterns. It's only main difference is those completely stunning rings
  3. Saturn's rings could well be particles of an moon that used to orbit the planet, that was drawn in by Saturn and obliterated
  4. Saturn's rings orbit the planet at different tilts, sometimes they can be very visible from our viewpoint on Earth other times they appear edge on, this edge on view occurs about every 14 3/4 years on Saturn's orbit around the sun, and as the rings are only approx one mile thick our 800 million mile away view makes the rings seem to disappear for a while
  5. Some astronomers believe that one day the rings will disappear altogether, They will either disperse into space or get sucked into Saturn by it's gravitational pull, this could happen in around 50 million years, so don't worry about it at the moment
  6. Despite it's similarities to Jupiter, there is no great spot on Saturn, (Jupiter has an area called the Great Spot, which is a storm that has raged for many many years) but Saturn does have stormy weather
  7. Saturn is twice as far away from the sun as Jupiter is
  8. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is the only moon in the solar system to possess an atmosphere
  9. Saturn has such a low density that if we had an ocean big enough here on Earth, it would float around on it - in comparison Earth and Mercury would sink the fastest
  10. One year on Saturn would take almost thirty years on Earth, but a day on Saturn only lasts about ten and a half hours

Ever wondered what Saturn means? well Saturn was the Roman God of agriculture. It's Greek equivalent would be Kronos.

What about Saturn's weight, well I'd ask you to guess but it might take a while, Saturn weighs
568,510,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg - So maybe another cream cake for Earth.

Saturn still remains the one planet, in my opinion, that gets the biggest "ooooghs", it remains my firm favourite with the moon a close second (sorry @Space_Jockey) I love it's moons, and the shadows that they cast on the Gas giant that is Saturn, Saturn evokes real passion and a sense of wonder, and the realisation in people that you are looking at a real planet, it kind of puts you in perspective as to your place in the universe.

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