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Here is a planet that everyone knows something about. Nearly anyone who has spent some time in school can recognize its trademark rings; but what else do you know about the Saturnian world? Do you know what those famous rings are made of? Most people do not, so here at Universe Today we thought it would be fun to put together a bunch of articles with information about Saturn, then get a group of links together in one place to make all of them easier to find.

Hidden among the links below you will find interesting tidbits like:

Saturn’s rings are made of ice chunks and there is one at least on of Saturn’s moons or moonlets in each ring. Some of the chunks of ice are as old as Saturn, while others crash into each other, break apart, and then reform repeatedly each year.

No one is sure how long a day is on Saturn. The clouds in its atmosphere are too think to make a direct observation of its surface, so scientists have to rely on radio emissions from the planet’s core. These are unreliable, so the best estimate that we have is a day that lasts from 10 hours and 39 minutes to one that is 10 hours 46 minutes. Either way, school or work would be a lot shorter there. Anyone game for moving?

While we are talking about moving, how long will it take us to get there? That depends on a few things like: where Earth and Saturn are in their orbits, propulsion system, and what are we taking. For the shortest route we would want to launch when the planets are at aphelion(hoping they would be there again close to arrival). Using the newest propulsion systems and designing a craft large enough to accommodate our needs for 1 year, it would take a minimum of 6 years and 9 months to arrive in orbit. Then how long it would take to find a suitable landing zone on a planet that no one has ever seen the surface of is anyone’s guess. Any way you look at it, that is still a lot of ‘Are we there yet?’.



Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kyle November 20, 2008, 6:15 PM

    Saturn is my favorite planet! It’s got such pretty rings.ILS(I Love Saturn)!

  • brittany hershey January 14, 2009, 10:23 AM

    wowww denise i love him soooo much i want to go to saturn wit him;]