Saturn The Planet Of Rings

picture of saturn the planet

Saturn the planet is the second largest and sixth from the sun. Like the other outer planets it's a gas giant, meaning it has no solid surface like Earth does.

Saturn orbits the sun in about 29.5 earth years, but its days are only about 10.5 hours long. Saturn spins so fast that it flattens out at the top and bottom near the poles, and bulges in the middle.

It is the only planet less dense than water. that means that if you could drop Saturn in a large ocean it would actually float.

the planet has a magnetic field, which is 1,000 times as strong as that of Earth.

saturn the planet #2

Viewing Saturn

When viewing Saturn, the planet is visible with the naked eye. When you see it, it will appear as a bright golden star.

With binoculars viewing the planets is difficult at best. With a pair of large aperture binoculars mounted on a tripod you may be able to see the disk and possibly a ring outline but don't expect it.

Telescopes on the other hand can bring Saturn and its rings into clear view.

In small scopes of less than 150mm(6in) aperture if conditions are good for viewing you may see the rings and the moon Titan.

Telescopes of 150mm(6in) or larger aperture will reveal quite a lot.

The rings of Saturn, the Cassini Division- the gap between the A and B rings, and possibly 7 of Saturn's moons.

Look for the gold and brown cloud bands surrounding the planet. You may only be able to distinguish a white-beige region about the equator and the dark polar regions.

saturn the planet #3

The Rings

Saturn is surrounded by 7 rings labeled from A-G. The rings are labeled in order of discovery so they appear in a strange order.

From the planet outward they are: D,C,B,A,F,G,E.

Between the B and A rings is the large Cassini Division.

Discovered by Gallileo Galilei in 1610 using a telescope, he was not able to clearly see the rings and thought that Saturn had cup handles on its sides.

At certain times viewing the rings becomes nearly impossible as Saturn tilts and orbits. Sometimes the view from Earth is edge on to the rings and they seem to almost disappear.

The Moons Of Saturn

Saturn the planet of rings is also the planet of moons.

Saturn has 61 moons and moonlets officially. Most of these are small and insignificant but there are quite a few large moons too.

Eight moons of Saturn are visible in telescopes.

Titan is Saturn's largest moon and the second largest in the solar system. It also contains an Earth-like atmosphere.

The other observable moons are: Dione, Enceladus, Hyperion, Iapetus, Mimas, Rhea, and Tethys.

Please Remember...

Keep your expectations modest and realistic when backyard stargazing.

Check my guide to keeping frustration levels low and sky gazing fun and wonderous... stargazing for beginners

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