Saturn is best known for its fabulous ring system. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest planet in our solar system. Saturn is one of four gas giants and is made of similar gasses as Jupiter. Let’s take a look at some fascinating Saturn Facts.
Facts about Saturn
- Saturn takes 29 years to orbit the sun
- Saturn is 1.4901 billion km from the sun
- A day on Saturn lasts 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds
- A year on Saturn is the equivalent of 29.5 earth years
- Saturn gave us the name Saturday
- Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun
- Galileo Galilei discovered Saturn in 1610
- Saturn is a gas giant
- Saturn is primarily made up of two gases, hydrogen, and helium
- Four spacecraft have visited Satun
- Saturn is the flattest planet in our solar system
- Saturn has the most moons out of any planet
- Saturn is the farthest planet you can see with the naked eye
- Saturn formed 4.6 billion years ago
- Saturn has an average temperature of -288 Fahrenheit (-178 C)
- Saturn has 82 moons more than any other planet
- Saturn was named after the Roman God Saturn
- Saturn rains diamonds, not water like earth
Saturn Orbit & Rotation
There are many questions about Saturn orbit and rotation, and we have taken some of the most common questions and answered them.
How Long Does It Take for Saturn to orbit the Sun?
Every planet in our solar system takes a certain amount of time to orbit the sun the time will differ from a distance and the speed it is traveling. Saturn orbits the sun at a speed of 9.69 km/s, and it takes 29 years to orbit the sun.
How Far From the Sun Does Saturn Orbit
Saturn orbits the sun at 1.4901 billion km (887 million miles).
How Long Is a Day on Saturn
A day on Saturn is precisely 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds.
Despite having a very long year compared to Earth, Saturn has a surprisingly fast day. A day on Saturn only lasts for 10 hours and 42 minutes. That is twice as fast as a day on Earth. Saturn sure is spinning quickly out there!
In fact, that is the second fastest day in the solar system after Jupiter which has a slightly faster day at around 9 hours per revolution. A planet with such a long year and a fast day would make keeping time a nightmare.
For more information on how a day on Saturn is calculated, see here.
How Long Is a Year on Saturn
A year on Saturn takes 10,759 Earth days to complete. That factors out to 29.457 Earth years. For the sake of posterity, most people consider a Saturn year to be 29.5 Earth years.
A year for Saturn is much longer than a year for Earth. While Earth takes 365 days to orbit around the sun, Saturn takes 29 years to make its rotation. That is a long time and is one of the slowest orbits in the solar system. Neptune and Uranus have slower orbits but they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Saturn, as a visible object, moves extremely slowly compared to other planets such as Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.
29 years is 10,585 days on Earth. That is quite a long year. That means that at an average age of 80 on Earth, a human would only live to be 2.75 Saturn years. Most people would only get to have two birthdays which might sound good to some people who don’t like how quickly their birthday on Earth comes around every year.
How a year on Saturn is calculated
We take a look at Saturn’s history, from who named it to when it was discovered.
How Did Saturn Get Its Name
Saturn is named for the Roman god that goes by the same name. Saturn was one of the most important gods in Roman culture, and it is fitting that he received the honor of having a planet named after him. The God Saturn was the Roman god of plenty, agriculture, and time.
Want more information on Saturn’s name? See here
Who Discovered Saturn and Saturn’s Rings?
The person who discovered the rings of Saturn was none other than Galileo Galilei. Galileo spotted the rings of Saturn with the first telescope, which was also of his own invention.
See more about Galileo and his discovery.
How Old Is Saturn?
It is believed that Saturn formed 4.6 billion years ago, the same time the rest of the solar system was formed.
How many spacecraft have been to Saturn?
There have been four spacecraft to visit Saturn. The earliest space mission to Saturn was by NASA in 1979, with the last mission in 1981.
Saturn gave us the name Saturday
According to the Roman astrologer Vettius Valens, Saturn ruled over the first hour of Saturday. Two thousand years ago the Romans switched their calendars over from an eight-day week to the seven-day week that we are most familiar with today. Saturday was named after the planet Saturn which was easily visible in the ancient sky.
The original name for Saturday was Sāturni diēs which literally meant “Saturn’s day” and the name is still largely intact today. Next time you are lounging around on a Saturday. Remember that this most favored day of the week was named after the sixth planet from our sun.
Saturn Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics
The atmosphere and dynamics of Saturn are just as unique as its very famous rings. We answer some of the most common questions from does it rains diamonds on Saturn to Saturn can float on water.
What Is the Diameter of Saturn
Saturn has a diameter of 116,460 km, an incredible 83 times larger than earth.
What Is Saturn Made of
Saturn is a gas giant primarily made up of two gases, hydrogen and helium. These two elements make up 99.5% of Saturn’s composition. The vast majority of Saturn’s mass comes from hydrogen, which makes up a whopping 96% of its composition. That makes Saturn the most hydrogen-dense planet in the entire solar system, and it is not close.
Find out more about what Saturn is made of here.
What is the atmosphere of Saturn?
Saturn’s atmosphere comprises approximately 75% hydrogen and 25% helium; slight traces of methane and water ice are in the atmosphere. Despite Saturn having a very similar makeup to Jupiter’s, it much less attractive to look at from a distance.
What Is the Temperature of Saturn
Saturn’s average temperature ranges from -300 Fahrenheit (-173 Celsius) to -170 F (-113 C). That gives Saturn an overall average temperature of -288 Fahrenheit (-178 C).
For more on Saturn temperature, read here.
How strong is the gravity on Saturn?
Saturn’s gravity is 10.44 m/s² which is only 1.08 times that of Earth’s gravity. An object that weighs 100lbs on earth would weigh 108lbs on Saturn.
What Color Is Saturn the Planet
Saturn is a mixture of yellows, oranges, and browns which gives it a yellow-tan appearance.
See here for more on Saturn’s color.
Can we live on Saturn?
It is doubtful that we could live on planet Saturn; however, Saturn’s moon Enceladus or Titan are more likely to support life.
If I Stood on Saturn, Would I Sink?
If you stood on Saturn, you would slowly sink through its atmosphere. The atmosphere on Saturn is thick, and the deeper you go, the pressure increases. This pressure would crush you as you slowly sank through the atmosphere.
Can Saturn Float on Water
In theory, Saturn could float on water, but in practice, it probably would not. Saturn is much less dense than water, about 30% lighter, meaning that it would float if the conditions were right.
Some have speculated that Saturn would float in water if given the opportunity. That is because Saturn is much lighter than water due to its high concentration of hydrogen in its composition. This is a completely unique feature among all of the planets in our solar system. Nothing else orbiting our sun would float in a giant pool if given the chance.
Despite the fact that Saturn is the second-largest planet in our solar system, it is still much lighter than water. Size, density, and weight are completely independent of each other in space. It is hard to imagine something as massive as Saturn floating in anything other than space but it is possible due to how light its make up is.
There are a host of problems Saturn will face floating on water.
Does Saturn Rain Diamonds?
Yes, Saturn does rain diamonds due to Saturn’s atmosphere made up of 75% hydrogen and 25% helium and the environmental conditions and the chemical composition. The atmosphere is entirely different from that on earth, making it rain diamonds, not water.
Does Saturn Have Water?
Saturn is made up mainly of hydrogen and helium; however, there are other traces of many different chemicals, including water.
Does Saturn Have Seasons?
Yes, Saturn has seasons due to its tilted axis and its orbit to the Sun, just like plant earth. However, unlike earth, Saturn’s seasons last up to seven years. Saturn’s can give us many graphic seasonal displays.
Does Saturn have a Magnetic Field?
Saturn’s magnetic field is called a magnetosphere created deep inside Saturn, causing a vast bubble around the planet. The magnetic field has a powerful influence on the environment near plant Saturn. Saturn’s magnetic field is created by material cycles deep in the crust of Saturn’s interior.
Can we Land on Saturn?
Saturn does not have a surface as it’s a gas giant. So there would be nowhere for a spacecraft to land on planet Saturn. If you were to land on Saturn, you sink into the interior and be crushed by the pressure.
Maybe one of Saturn’s most notable aspects is its rings; the rings are what most astronomers want to see through their telescope. We have taken some of the most common questions about Saturn rings and given all the facts.
What Are Saturn’s Rings Made of
Saturn’s rings are made from billions of pieces of rock, ice, and dust that orbit the planet. These chunks of material range from nearly microscopic dust particles to large boulders measuring many meters across.
Read more about what Saturn rings are made of
How Many Rings Does Saturn Have
Saturn has seven main ring groups that are each categorized by a letter. The rings are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, and each one has its own orbit and different characteristics. The rings are named in order of their discovery, so A, B, and C rings are the brightest and most visible while the rest are smaller, dustier, and less luminous.
Read more about Saturn’s rings.
What Holds Saturn’s Rings Together?
Saturn is able to hold onto its rings because of gravity. The rings of Saturn are particles orbiting Saturn, which are held together by the gravitational force of the shepherd moons keeping the particles in place making up the ring system.
How Large Are Saturn’s Rings
Saturn rings are around 400,000 kilometers (240,000 miles) wide. The distance is the equivalent of traveling from earth to the moon. Saturn rings, although their size, is only around 100 meters (330 feet) thick.
Saturn’s rings are surprisingly thin
Despite being visible from Earth and extending outwards for tens of thousands of miles around Saturn. Saturn’s rings are really relatively thin. Seeing them in photos or through your telescope, you might guess that Saturn’s rings are thick and solid, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The rings of Saturn are massive icy clouds that orbit around the planet but are only about 30 feet thick on average. Some places are thicker, closer to half a mile thick. However, the vast majority of the rings clock in at just a few stories tall. Quite thin considering how massive Saturn is and how visible the rings are.
Is Saturn the Only Planet With Rings
Saturn has the biggest and brightest rings in the solar system. However, Saturn is not the only planet with rings. Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have rings. Unlike Saturn, you will not be able to see their rings with a telescope.
How did Saturn Get its Rings?
Saturn’s rings are thought to be many comets, asteroids, and moons that Saturn’s powerful gravity broke before reaching Saturn. All these pieces are held together by the shepherd moons’ gravitational force keeping the particles in place, making up the ring system.
It can come as a surprise to many that Saturn has moons; in fact, Saturn has 82 moons. We look at some of the facts about Saturn’s moons.
How Many Moons Does Saturn Have
According to NASA, Saturn has 53 confirmed moons, with an additional 29 moons waiting to be named. That means Saturn has 82 moons in total. That is more moons than any other planet in the solar system, including Jupiter.
For the longest time, Jupiter was the planet that held the title for most moons in the solar system but a recent blitz of discoveries have propelled Saturn into first place. With 82 moons, Saturn has passed Jupiter and is now in the first place. Jupiter has 79 discovered moons giving Saturn a 3 moon lead.
Those positions could change in the future, however. New moons are being discovered all the time and some astronomers suggest that Jupiter and Saturn could have hundreds of moons each. But until then, Saturn currently has the most moons out of any planet in our solar system.
For more on Saturn’s moons, read here.
Saturn’s Biggest Moon
Saturn’s biggest moon is Titan, an icy planet entirely covered by a golden hazed atmosphere. Titan is not only Saturn’s largest moon; it is the second-largest moon in the solar system.
Comparing Saturn and Distances
Looking at Saturn’s distance and size difference from other plants to looking how long it will take to get to Saturn from each planet all within this section.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and it is the farthest planet you can see with the naked eye. Uranus and Neptune cannot be viewed without the aid of a telescope but Saturn can be. You won’t be able to see Saturn’s rings with your unaided eye but it does appear as a bright star in the sky on certain nights.
Saturn is 927 million miles from the sun which is certainly a long way away. It is amazing that we can see something so distant that does not give off its own light. In fact, from Saturn, the sun would look much smaller and dimmer than it does for us. So next time you are outside on a clear night, look up and see if you can spot the farthest planet you can with your bare eyes.
How Far Is Saturn From Jupiter
We see Saturn and Jupiter in our night sky close together; however, Saturn is 456 million miles (734 million km) from Jupiter despite appearing close together.
How Big Is Saturn Compared to Jupiter
Saturn has a diameter of 120,536 Km, and Jupiter’s diameter stands at 142,984 Km, a difference of just 22,448 Km. However, Saturn is constable less massive than Jupiter, with a much smaller mass.
How Far Is Saturn From Earth
At its farthest point from Earth, when the two planets stand opposite each other in their orbits, Saturn is a billion miles away. When the two planets are at their closest point, they are 746 million miles apart. The average distance between Earth and Saturn is roughly 875 million miles.
For a little more on the distance between Saturn and earth
How Big Is Saturn Compared to Earth
The equatorial diameter of Saturn is 72,367 miles which are 9.5 times larger than that of Earth. Earth has an equatorial diameter of 7,917.5 mi. That gives Saturn a surface area that is 83 times larger than that of the Earth. Saturn’s volume is 764 times the volume of Earth. That would allow 764 full-sized Earths to fit inside of Saturn’s massive girth. Finally, Saturn has a mass that is 95 times the mass of Earth.
See more on Saturn size compared to Earth.
How Long Does It Take to Get to Saturn From Earth
Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977 from Earth and took until November 1980 to reach Saturn using Saturn’s gravitational force for assistance. Voyager 1 took three years however Voyager 2 took a full four years that left earth just one month later than Voyager 1.
How Far Is Saturn From the Sun
The distance between Saturn and the Sun is 9.5 AU. That’s approximately 1,4901,000,000 km or 886 million miles.
How Far Is Saturn From Mercury
The distance between Saturn and Mercury is 9.14 AU. That’s approximately 1.4 billion km or 849,221,795 miles.
How Far Is Saturn From Venus
The distance between Saturn and Venus is 8.80 AU. That’s approximately 1,316,400,000 km or 817,973,037 miles.
How Far Is Saturn From Mars
The distance between Saturn and Mars is 7.99 AU. That’s approximately 1,196,660,000 km or 743,604,524 miles.
How Far Is Saturn From Uranus
The distance between Saturn and Uranus is 9.7 AU. That’s approximately 1,448,950,000 km or 900,377,530 miles.
How Far Is Saturn From Neptune
The distance between Saturn and Uranus is 9.7 AU. That’s approximately 1,448,950,000 km or 900,377,530 miles.