In Depth | Saturn – NASA Solar System Exploration - Deepstash

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In Depth | Saturn – NASA Solar System Exploration

solarsystem.nasa.gov

Saturn

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in our solar system. Adorned with a dazzling system of icy rings, Saturn is unique among the planets. It is not the only planet to have rings, but none are as spectacular or as complex as Saturn's. Like fellow gas gian...

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Quick facts

Day: 10.7 hours

Year: 29 Earth years

Radius: 36,183.7 miles | 58,232 kilometers

Planet type: Gas giant

Temperature: average temperature of -288 degrees Fahrenheit -178 degrees Celsius

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Size and distance

With a radius of 36,183.7 miles (58,232 kilometers), Saturn is 9 times wider than Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Saturn would be about as big as a volleyball.

From an average distance of 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers), Saturn is 9.5 astronomical units away from the S...

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Orbit and rotation

Saturn has the second shortest day in the solar system. One day on Saturn takes only 10.7 hours (the time it takes for Saturn to rotate or spin around once), and Saturn makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Saturnian time) in about 29.4 Earth years (10,756 Earth days).

Its axis i...

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Structure

like jupiter, saturn is mostly of hydrogen and helium. At Saturn's center is a dense core of metals like iron and nickel surrounded by rocky material and other compounds solidified by the intense pressure and heat. It is enveloped by liquid metallic hydrogen inside a layer of liquid hydrogen—simi...

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Formation

Saturn took shape when the rest of the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago, when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become this gas giant. 

About 4 billion years ago, Saturn settled into its current position in the outer solar system, where it is the sixth planet fr...

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Surface

As a gas giant, Saturn doesn’t have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling gases and liquids deeper down. While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Saturn, it wouldn’t be able to fly through unscathed either. 

The extreme pressures and temperatures deep inside the planet ...

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Atmosphere

Saturn is blanketed with clouds that appear as faint stripes, jet streams and storms. The planet is many different shades of yellow, brown and grey.

Winds in the upper atmosphere reach 1,600 feet per second (500 meters per second) in the equatorial region. In contrast, the strongest hurrica...

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Magnetosphere

Saturn's magnetic field is smaller than Jupiter's but still 578 times as powerful as Earth's. Saturn, the rings, and many of the satellites lie totally within Saturn's enormous magnetosphere, the region of space in which the behavior of electrically charged particles is influenced more by Saturn'...

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Rings

Saturn's rings are thought to be pieces of comets, asteroids or shattered moons that broke up before they reached the planet, torn apart by Saturn's powerful gravity. They are made of billions of small chunks of ice and rock coated with another material such as dust. The ring particles mostly ran...

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Moons

Saturn is home to a vast array of intriguing and unique worlds. From the haze-shrouded surface of Titan to crater-riddled Phoebe, each of Saturn's moons tells another piece of the story surrounding the Saturn system. 

Currently Saturn has 53 confirmed moons with 29 additional provision...

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Potential for life

Saturn's environment is not conductive to life as we know it. The temperatures, pressures and materials that characterize this planet are most likely too extreme and volatile for organisms to adapt to.

While planet Saturn is an unlikely place for living things to take hold, the same is not ...

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