What Are Some Characteristics of Saturn?

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.

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.