Can you describe Saturn?


Quick Answer

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun at a distance of 886 million miles and has a composition of hydrogen and helium. Saturn was first observed through a telescope by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei.

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Full Answer

Named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn is a gas giant without a solid surface. Its interior structure consists of rock, ice, water and other materials surrounded by liquid metallic hydrogen and an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Saturn's winds travel at 1,600 feet per second. The fast winds combined with the planet's heat form the visible yellow and gold colors in its atmosphere. Saturn is the furthest planet that can be observed unaided by the human eye.

A series of seven separate rings surrounds Saturn. These rings, comprised mainly of water and ice, include vertical formations at least two miles tall.

Saturn has 53 identified moons. Its largest moon, Titan, is greater in size than the planet Mercury. Titan has a nitrogen atmosphere possibly similar to Earth's atmosphere at the time of Earth's formation. Saturn's moon Enceladus has unique features with one dark black hemisphere and another bright white hemisphere.

Saturn completes a spin in 10.7 hours, compared to Earth's 24 hours. It takes Saturn 29 years to orbit the sun.

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