Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and one of the more distant planets visible to the naked eye. Its most noticeable feature is its system of rings, which are made up of small particles as well as large objects. But there are quite a few more fascinating facts about Saturn you may not know yet.
1. Saturn has the most extensive rings in our Solar System
Saturn is most known for its impressive system of rings, it’s the most extensive ring system in our Solar System. The rings are so big that most can be observed with a regular telescope.
2. Galileo Galilei was the first to see the rings
In 1610 Galileo turned his telescope to Jupiter and was the first person to observe the rings. He wasn’t able to see them clearly so didn’t realize their true nature. A few decades later, in 1655, Christian Huygens would be the first person to describe the rings for what they are.
3. You can see Saturn without a telescope
While you can’t see the rings, Saturn itself can be observed with the naked eye. It is one of the 5 planets that can be seen, and it is the furthest one of all.
4. It has numerous moons
There are 83 moons with confirmed orbits as of 2022. But there are probably many more. As the rings of Saturn are made up of objects of different sizes, ranging from smaller than a grain of sand to objects measuring hundreds of meters across.
There is no clear boundary between the size of some of the moons and some of the objects in the rings. We will likely discover many more moons in the future.
5. The rings are mostly made of ice
There are billions of particles in the rings of Saturn, from microscopic to small moon-like. Most of these particles are water ice.
6. A day on Saturn is only 10 hours and 14 minutes long
It takes Saturn only 10 hours and 14 minutes to complete one rotation around its axis. This is pretty fast! The only planet with a shorter day than that is Jupiter.
7. It takes Saturn 29.4 Earth years to orbit the Sun
While the days on Saturn are short, a year is not. One Saturn year lasts for 29.4 Earth days.
8. There are storms on Saturn
Much like on Jupiter, there are violent storms on Saturn as well. And while Jupiter is known for the Great Red Spot, a storm that has been raging for hundreds of years, the storms on Saturn are shorter but can also be larger by far.
Apart from regular storms, massive storms occur as well. To date, the largest recorded storm in our Solar System was recorded on Saturn. These mega-storms can encircle the whole planet. They have been observed roughly once every 30 years.
9. It is the flattest planet
None of the planets in our Solar System are perfect spheres, the closest, nearly perfect are Mercury and Venus.
Saturn is the flattest of all planets, with its polar diameter being only 90% of its equatorial diameter.
10. It is the least dense planet in our Solar System
This is one of the coolest facts about Saturn. It is the planet with the lowest density in our Solar system, it’s the only planet that is less dense than water. If you would be able to place Saturn in water, it would float.
11. The surface isn’t solid
This one of the facts about Saturn comes as no surprise, seeing as it’s less dense than water. It doesn’t have a true surface, it’s all just gases and liquids deeper down the surface. There isn’t a spot on this planet where you could land a spacecraft.
12. Saturn got its name after the Roman god Saturn
Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture and wealth. Interestingly enough Saturn was also the father of Jupiter.