Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest in the solar system.
Named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn, its scientific name is Sol 6. It is a gas giant with an average radius of 58,232 km. Saturn is famous for its beautiful rings, which are made up of ice, dust and rocks.
Saturn was first observed by the naked eye on July 16, 1610, by Galileo Galilei during his observation of a triple conjunction of Jupiter. He described it as “a star like Venus, which to our great wonder changed its appearance”.
The most detailed images were taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft which orbited Saturn from 2004 until 2017 when it ended its mission by plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere.
Here are ten fun facts about Saturn:
1. Saturn is the only planet in the solar system that is less dense than water.
2. If you were to stand on Saturn, you would weigh less than you do on Earth.
3. Saturn orbits the Sun at an average distance of 1.4 billion kilometres.
4. A day on Saturn lasts for 10.7 hours.
5. A year on Saturn takes 29.4 Earth years.
6. Saturn is the windiest planet in the solar system, with winds reaching up to 1,120 kilometres per hour.
7. The temperature on Saturn can range from -178 degrees Celsius to -184 degrees Celsius.
8. Saturn has 62 moons, making it the planet with the most moons in the solar system.
9. The rings of Saturn are made up of ice, dust and rocks.
10. Despite being almost twice as far from the Sun as Jupiter, Saturn receives only one third as much sunlight because it is much less reflective than Jupiter due to its hazy atmosphere.