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Saturn: Overview
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Color image show part of Saturn and its rings and Earth as a pale blue dot in the background.
In this rare image taken on 19 July 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn's rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.

Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets. All four gas giant planets have rings -- made of chunks of ice and rock -- but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's. Like the other gas giants, Saturn is mostly a massive ball of hydrogen and helium.

10 Need-to-Know Things About Saturn:

  1. If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, the Earth would be the size of a nickel and Saturn would be about as big as a basketball.
    Link to Cassini mission
    Cassini: Long-lived Saturn Explorer
  2. Saturn orbits our sun, a star. Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun at a distance of about 1.4 billion km (886 million miles) or 9.5 AU.
  3. One day on Saturn takes 10.7 hours (the time it takes for Saturn to rotate or spin once). Saturn makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Saturnian time) in 29 Earth years.
  4. Saturn is a gas-giant planet and does not have a solid surface.
  5. Saturn's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).
  6. Saturn has 53 known moons with an additional 9 moons awaiting confirmation of their discovery.
  7. Saturn has the most spectacular ring system of all our solar system's planets. It is made up of seven rings with several gaps and divisions between them.
  8. Five missions have been sent to Saturn. Since 2004, Cassini has been exploring Saturn, its moons and rings.
  9. Saturn cannot support life as we know it. However, some of Saturn's moons have conditions that might support life.
  10. When Galileo Galilei looked at Saturn through a telescope in the 1600s, he noticed strange objects on each side of the planet and drew in his notes a triple-bodied planet system and then later a planet with arms or handles. The handles turned out to be the rings of Saturn.

Read More About Saturn Blue arrow

Homework? We can help. Link to Saturn homework helper.
Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  1,426,666,422 km
Mean Radius:  58,232 km
Volume:  827,129,915,150,897 km3
Mass:  568,319,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
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Amy Simon Amy Simon
"My defining moment was when Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. From then on, I knew I wanted to study space and work for NASA." Read More...
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Last Updated: 3 Aug 2014