Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second of the four gas giants. It lies between the orbits of Jupiter and Uranus.

True color composite image from Voyager 2 in 1981
Credit: NASA/JPL

Facts About Saturn:

  • Saturn is 95 times the size of Earth.
  • Due to its low density Saturn would float in water (if it didn't dissolve).
  • Saturn's rings are made mostly of billions of chunks of ice, ranging from microscopic to several metres in size. They were probably formed from a disrupted moon. The rings are less than 1km thick.
  • Replenished from different sources, eg comets, meteors, moons. Chunks range in size from pebble to room-size.
  • Minor moons in rings create interesting effects.
  • The rings change constantly, and will eventually disappear.
  • Its biggest moon, Titan, is the only known moon to have an atmosphere and liquid on the surface (liquid methane).
  • The North pole hexagon is larger than Earth.
  • Saturn has such low density that it would float in water (if you could find a big enough body of water and keep the planet from dissolving).
  • Saturn has been visited by Pioneer 11 (1979), Voyagers (1980 & 1981) and Cassini.

See also:

Classification: Planet (orbiting Sun)
Names:  Saturn, Sol 6, Rongo
Rotation period:  10 hrs 14 mins (eq) 10 hrs 38 mins (high latitude)
Atmosphere:  93% Hydrogen, 7% Helium