How Big is Saturn?

by Fraser Cain on October 6, 2009

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How Big is Saturn?

How Big is Saturn?


Saturn is a gas giant, the second largest planet in the Solar System. It’s got to be big, but how big is Saturn?

First let’s take a look at its diameter. The equatorial diameter of Saturn is 120,536 km. Now I say equatorial diameter because Saturn spins so rapidly that it’s significantly flattened. The poles are about 5,904 km closer to the center of Saturn than points on the equator. That’s a pretty big difference, and you can actually see that Saturn looks a little squashed in pictures. Just for comparison, the equatorial diameter of Saturn is 9.4 times bigger than Earth, and it’s about 84% the diameter of Jupiter.

In terms of volume, you could fit 763 planets the size of Earth inside Saturn and still have a little room left. But Saturn has only 57.8% the volume of Jupiter. It’s big, but Jupiter is just that much bigger.

The surface area of Saturn is 83.7 times bigger than Earth. Again, that’s smaller than Jupiter though. It’s only 68.7% the surface area of Jupiter.

What about mass? Of course Saturn is more massive than Earth. In fact, it’s 95 times more massive than Earth. But it has only 30% the mass of Jupiter.

We have written many articles about Saturn for Universe Today. Here’s an article about how Saturn’s rings can disappear from time to time, and here’s an article about a temporary radiation belt discovered at Saturn. Were you wondering how big is Jupiter?

If you want more information on Saturn, check out Hubblesite’s News Releases about Saturn. And here’s a link to the homepage of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which is orbiting Saturn.

We have also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about Saturn. Listen here, Episode 59: Saturn.

About 

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

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