- Saturn is defined as a planet in our solar system which is know for its rings.
Facts About Saturn
- Saturn was named after a Roman god, Saturnus, who was the god of agriculture.
- In 1610 Galileo was the first person to see Saturn through a telescope. Its shape puzzled him, because it didn’t look spherical, but looked more like an oval. In 1655, Christiaan Huygens had a better telescope and could see the rings more clearly. Two decades later, Giovanni Cassini made the discovery that the rings were not solid, but made up of particles. He also saw that there was more than one ring, and there was a large gap, 2980 miles wide, between two of them. The gap was called the Cassini Division, named in his honor.
- Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, approximately 888 million miles away from the Sun.
- Saturn has a diameter of about 75,000 miles as compared to the 8,000 mile diameter of the Earth.
- One orbital period lasts for over 29 years. That means, in Earth time, that one year here is equivalent to over 29 on Saturn.
- The exact length of a year is 29.42 Earth years.
- One day on Saturn lasts for 10 hours and 39.4 minutes.
- Its atmosphere is 97% hydrogen, 2.5% helium, and .5% methane; but, it is believed to have a solid inner core of iron and rocky material.
- Saturn is the windiest planet, with winds blowing at 1,100 miles per hour.
- Saturn has a very strong magnetic field.
- Saturn has 62 moons, with the largest of Saturn’s moons as big or bigger than the Earth’s moon. Many of Saturn’s smaller moons are no larger than comets. Half of the moons orbit Saturn in the same direction as the planet itself.
- Its most distinctive feature is its seven rings of varying lengths, widths and densities. The rings consist of rocks, ice and space debris.
- The first probe to fly by Saturn was the unmanned spacecraft Pioneer 11 in 1979. It was exploring the outer planets and discovered two new moons and charted the magnetosphere.
- Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flew by Saturn as part of their mission. They both measured the length of a day on Saturn as 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 24 seconds. The Voyager spacecrafts identified 6 more moons on their mission, bringing the total to 17.
- The Cassini-Huyggens spacecraft was launched in 1997 as a joint effort between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), and Italian Space Agency (ASI) to study Saturn and two of its moons. It reached Saturn in 2004 and captured photographs. The probe went on to study Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. In 2008, NASA extended the mission and renamed it the Cassini Equinox Mission. In 2010 the mission was called the Cassini Solstice Mission and will continue through 2017.
An example of Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun.
The planet Saturn.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- Rom. Myth. the god of agriculture: identified with the Greek Cronus
- the second largest planet of the solar system and the sixth in distance from the sun: it has a thin, icy ring system around its equator: diameter, c. 120,540 km (c. 74,900 mi); period of revolution, 29.46 earth years; period of rotation, 10.66 hours; 47 satellites; symbol, ♄
Origin: ML use of L SaturnusAlchemy lead (sense )
Origin: Middle English Saturne from Old English from Classical Latin Saturnus from Etruscan
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Roman Mythology The god of agriculture.
- The sixth planet from the sun and the second largest in the solar system, having a sidereal period of revolution about the sun of 29.5 years at a mean distance of about 1,426,000,000 kilometers (886,000,000 miles), a mean diameter of approximately 120,000 kilometers (74,000 miles), and a mass 95 times that of Earth.
Origin: Middle English Saturnus, from Old English, from Latin Sāturnus, of Etruscan origin.
Saturn - Cultural Definition
In astronomy, the second-largest major planet, sixth from the sun. Saturn was named for the Roman god of agriculture. Like Jupiter, Saturn is composed largely of gases and liquids. Saturn is the most distant planet plainly visible to the naked eye. (See solar system; see under “Mythology and Folklore.”)
- Saturn, often called the most beautiful planet, is known for the rings that encircle it.
The Roman name for one of the Titans, the father of Zeus. In Roman mythology, Saturn fled from Mount Olympus after Zeus defeated the Titans. He settled in Italy and established a golden age, in which all people were equal and harvests were plentiful.
saturn - Science Definition
Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.