Saturn, the sixth planet of our solar system is sometimes known as “The Jewel of the Solar System”. It is a planet unlike any other and the wonderful rings makes Saturn makes it the most beautiful planet. Let’s know some interesting facts about Saturn- the bejeweled planet.
1. Saturn named after Roman God of farming
2. You can’t stand on Saturn
Saturn is simply a ball of gases. So, there is no solid place where you can place your foot. Saturn is mainly composed of the gas Helium.
3. Saturn’s low density
Saturn is completely composed of gases and its density is lower than water. So, if you ever build a tub big enough to contain Saturn and fill it in water then you can put Saturn in it and watch it float.
4. Rings of beauty
Rings of Saturn make it the most unique planet on solar system. While looking at it one might feel that these rings are solid but it is not so. These picturesque rings are made up of bits of dust, rocks and ice revolving around the planet. These bits vary a lot in size; some can be as small as a grain of sand while other can be larger than a tall building.
5. Galileo thought the rings were moons
In the year 1610 when Galileo first observed the rings of Saturn he thought they were two large moons which were struck on two opposite sides of Saturn. It was not until 1655 when it was discovered that they were actually rings not moons.
6. Saturn’s rings can disappear
Just like Earth, Saturn’s axis is tilted. So, when it goes around the Sun sometimes its rings are in complete view and in full glory under sun’s radiation. But at other times these rings disappears completely from our view. This happens only once in every 14 – 15 years. When the rings disappear you can clearly see Saturn’s moons.
7. Moons of Saturn
Till now 67 moons of Saturn had been discovered. Saturn is the proud owner of the moon, Titan as it is the second largest moon in the entire solar system.
Source: universitytoday.com, image: wikimedia.org
8. Flying on Titan
Titan, the largest moon of Saturn has a very weak gravity and very thick atmosphere. These conditions are ideal for humans to fly. So, if you are on Titan you can just strap on a pair of wings and fly through the sky just like a bird. Anyone interested?
Source: bobthealien.co.uk, image: wikimedia.org
9. Sound from Titan
The very first sound from solar system which were recorded from Saturn’s moon, Titan. It was recorded in 2005 by the Huygens space probe.
10. Second fastest spin
After Jupiter, Saturn has the fastest spin on its axis among all other planet in the solar system. Saturn spins so fast that its one day ends in just 10 hours 34 minutes. The speed with which Saturn rotates on its axis is 6,200 miles per hour.
11. Very slow Rotation
Just like Jupiter, Saturn spins very fast on its axis but it is extremely slow when it comes to revolving around the Sun. One complete revolution around the Sun by Saturn takes approximately 29.7 years.
12. Saturn – the flattest planet
The density of Saturn is quite low and it rotates very fast on its axis. Both these things have led to flattening of the planet. Saturn is so flat that the diameter of its pole is 90% the diameter of its equator!
Source: space-facts.com, image: wikimedia.org
13. Earth and Saturn
14. Saturn’s Storms
The number of storm occurrence on Saturn may not be as many as the one observed on Jupiter but they are consistently occurring in Saturn’s atmosphere. The Great White spots are storms which have been observed over past 140 years. Dragon Storm was observed in 2004. Recently in the year 2012 a Hexagonal storm had been observed on the north pole of Saturn.
Source: space.com, image: wikimedia.org
15. Dragon Storm
Dragon Storm is the name of a storm on Saturn which was at first observed in 2004 in the mid-September. Dragon storm is a long lived storm in Saturn’s atmosphere that periodically flares up and becomes bright enough to be observed.
Source: nasa.gov, image: flickr
16. Sun from Saturn
Saturn is quite far away from the Sun. So, when Sun is observed from Saturn it appears 10 times smaller than the view of Sun from Earth. Also, Saturn receives just 10 percent of sunlight that Earth receives from Sun.