What does the atmosphere look like in Saturn

Saturn - the planet of the rings

Saturn is one of the planets that are visible to the naked eye from Earth. Seen from the sun, it is the sixth planet, between Jupiter and Uranus. With an equatorial diameter of 120,000 kilometers, it is the second largest planet in our solar system after Jupiter. The temperatures around Saturn are -180 degrees Celsius. Saturn is also the "windiest" planet: The wind speeds in its atmosphere reach up to 1,600 km / h and are thus even greater than those in Jupiter's atmosphere. Saturn is mainly made up of hydrogen and helium.

The ring planet is nine and a half times farther away from the sun than the earth. Seen from Saturn, the size of the Sun is only a tenth of what we see from Earth. The intensity of solar radiation on Saturn is only one percent of the solar radiation that penetrates the earth. An area on earth receives 90 times more sunlight than a comparable area on Saturn. The further away a planet is from the sun, the longer it takes to orbit the sun: a Saturn year corresponds to 29.46 years on earth.

The most striking feature of the planet is its ring system, which is unique in its shape. It consists of thousands of individual rings, which in turn consist of countless small chunks of ice, from the size of a speck of dust to the size of a single-family house. The particles orbiting Saturn in its equatorial plane are so densely packed that from a distance the impression of an opaque disk is created, the outermost ring of which is 280,000 kilometers in diameter. This "disc" is less than a kilometer thick. Saturn's ring system is divided into seven main rings. They were named in the order in which they were discovered, not their distance from the planet. Starting from Saturn, they are called the D, C, B, A, F, G and E ring.

The moons of Saturn

Until March 24, 1655, only two planets were known to have moons: Earth and Jupiter. One day later, Christiaan Huygens was able to add the ring planet Saturn to the list because he had discovered its largest moon, Titan. At the moment 61 moons of Saturn are known. Titan is the largest of Saturn's moons (5,150 kilometers in diameter) and the second largest moon in our solar system. It is larger than the planet Mercury and is the only moon in our solar system to have a dense atmosphere.

The other moons of Saturn are smaller with diameters of less than 1,600 kilometers. Some of them, like Pan, Atlas, Prometheus, and Pandora, are so-called "sheepdog moons". That means that they hold the orbiting particles in a certain ring. The surface of the second largest moon, Rhea, is littered with impact craters. The moon Enceladus is one of the brightest in the solar system. Its surface is covered by water ice and reflects sunlight in a similar way to freshly fallen snow. For this reason, the temperature on Enceladus is around minus 201 degrees Celsius. A huge impact crater dominates the moon Mimas, whereby the difference in altitude between the crater floor and the central mountain peak is over 20 kilometers. On the Tethys surface, the researchers discovered a huge rift system that presumably spans the entire moon. Probably the strangest of Saturn's moons is Iapetus. It has a light and a dark side. This is a unique circumstance in our solar system, the cause of which has not yet been clarified. The moons Janus and Epimetheus exchange their orbits every four years. Due to the chaotic rotation of Hyperion, it is not possible to calculate months in advance when which part of its surface will face the sun. He and the far out circling moon Phoebe are the only Saturn moons that do not have a bound rotation, so Saturn does not always face the same side. Because of this rotation and its dark color, scientists suspect that Phoebe could be a trapped body from the outer solar system.