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Saturn


 

    Saturn was the furthest planet from the sun known to the ancients.  The planet is named after the Roman god Saturn (Cronus in Greek mythology), who was the keeper of time.  Saturn was also the youngest Titan, and overthrew his father, Uranus.  Later in mythology, Saturn was similarly overthrown as supreme ruler by his son, Jupiter.  This pattern can be seen by the sizes of the three largest gas giants: Uranus is overpowered by Saturn, and Saturn is overpowered by Jupiter.  Through our telescopes at the observatory, Saturn appears magnificent with beautiful rings surrounding it.  Here are some more fun facts about the second largest planet in our solar system:

 

Mass -- 5.69 x 1026 kg   (95.16 earth masses)

 

Radius -- 37,450 mi   (60,268 km or 9.45 earth radii)

 

Distance from the sun (average) -- 885,904,700 mi   (1,426,725,400 km or 9.537 AU)

 

Gravity -- 23.64 ft/sq. sec   (7.207 m/sq. sec)

    An adult weighing 140 lbs on Earth would weigh 103 lbs on Saturn.

 

Orbital velocity -- 21,637 mph   (34,821 km/hr or 0.865 earth speed)

 

Orbital eccentricity -- 0.0542

    This is how off-circular the moon's orbit around the Earth is.  An eccentricity of 0.00 would be a perfect circle.  An eccentricity of nearly 1 would be a very flattened oval.  For a fun project on ellipses and eccentricity, click here.

 

Sidereal rotation -- 10.66 hr   (0.444 earth days)

    A day on Saturn would be less than half of an Earth day.

 

Sidereal orbit -- 258,144 hr   (10,756 earth days or 29.4 earth years)

    Saturn's year is nearly 30 of our Earth years.

 

Moons -- 31, the largest of which is called Titan

 

 

For more information on Saturn, please visit SEDS' website http://www.nineplanets.org/saturn.html and NASA's website http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Saturn&Display=Overview.  Both websites are wonderful resources. 

 

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Website last updated March 16,  2006.  Hosted by Anthony Watts, KMXI Radio.  Webmasters Tiara Norris and Brendan Diamond.