What are some characteristics of Saturn?


Quick Answer

The most notable characteristic of Saturn is its large and complex ring system. But Saturn is also a gas giant whose surface is made up of mostly hydrogen. As it sinks deeper into the Saturnian atmosphere, the hydrogen becomes more and more dense until it becomes metallic.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Electricity that runs through this metallic hydrogen is thought to give Saturn its relatively weak magnetic field.

Saturn's mass is 95.16 times that of the Earth. It is 9.58 astronomical units, or AU from the sun. One AU is the distance the Earth is from the sun, or about 93 million miles. The surface temperature of Saturn is 218 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists also believe that the core of Saturn is made largely of iron and nickel and is several times the size of Earth. The saying that Saturn can float in a bathtub big enough to hold it is true, for it is less dense that water. Saturn's density is .687 g/cm3.

As with Jupiter, Saturn has storms that have lasted for centuries, if not eons. Scientists believe that a storm in its South Pole has been raging for billions of years. Its wind speed is as high as 342 miles per hour.

Learn more about Planets

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How was Saturn formed?

    A: Though there are competing theories about the formation of the planets, including Saturn, the most widely accepted theory in 2014 is that of core accretion... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When was Saturn discovered?

    A: Unlike many planets and stars, Saturn doesn't have a universally recognized date of discovery. Because Saturn is visible with the naked eye, its existence ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How old is Saturn?

    A: Saturn, like the rest of the planets in the solar system, was formed a little over four and a half billion years ago. The planets formed from a spinning cl... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is Saturn hot or cold?

    A: Saturn is a mostly cold planet, with areas that reach temperatures as low as minus 270 F. There are some regions of the planet that feature temperatures of... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: