Q:

What is the symbol for Saturn?

A:

Quick Answer

Although it has no formal name, the symbol for Saturn is meant to represent a scythe or sickle and is similar in appearance to a cursive "h" with a horizontal line across the top. The International Astronomical Union prefers for scientists to use the abbreviation "S" in formal contexts.

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Full Answer

Saturn derives its name from the Roman god of agriculture, who is the likely source of the sickle-shaped symbol. Ancient Greeks typically used planetary symbols in artworks. In recent times, the symbols are more often used in astrology than in formal scientific publications. The sun, moon and minor planets also have representative symbols.

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Related Questions

  • 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 cloud of gas and dust that was leftover from the creation of the sun.

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  • 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 was known by ancient civilizations. Ancient Greeks named the planet "Kronos" after their god of agriculture, which is the Roman equivalent of Saturn.

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  • Q:

    How fast does Saturn spin?

    A:

    Saturn spins very quickly and makes a complete rotation in about 10 Earth hours. The high-velocity spin of this planet makes its poles flatten and the equator bulge slightly. Saturn takes about 29 years to make a complete revolution around the sun, even though it is travelling at 21,562 mph.

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  • Q:

    Who discovered Saturn?

    A:

    The discovery of Saturn dates back to prehistoric times, as it is visible with the naked eye. It is prominent throughout ancient Babylonian, Greek and Roman mythologies. The European astronomer Galileo was the first to discover Saturn's rings in 1610.

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