Saturn The Planet Of Rings
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
the planet has a magnetic field, which is 1,000 times
as strong as that of Earth.
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 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
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.
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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