Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest in the solar system next to Jupiter. The distance Saturn is from the Sun is 10 AU’s (astronomical unit). An astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the Sun, which is ninety-three million miles. Like Jupiter and a few other planets Saturn is a gas giant. What this means is that the atmosphere on Saturn is entirely made up of gas, to be specific Saturn’s atmosphere is made up of 75% hydrogen, 25% helium with traces of water, methane, ammonia, and bits of rock. This composition of elements is similar to the primordial solar nebula from which the solar system was formed.

Saturn is the least dense planet in the solar system. If you were to take a giant bathtub and fill it with water, and placed Saturn in the tub it would float like a tennis ball. Saturn is a very unique planet on account of its orbital and rotational periods. Saturn only takes about ten hours and fifteen minuets to rotate once, in other words a day on Saturn only takes about ten hours. However, it takes about twenty-nine years to orbit the sun.

The most noticeable and famous feature about Saturn is its rings. Saturn’s rings appear from the ground to be one whole ring surrounding the planet, but actually Saturn has a total of thirteen rings. As the development of telescopes progressed, we were able to see that Saturn had two major rings and one faint one along its edge. But as high powered telescopes and observatories were developed, we found that Saturn actually had thirteen rings. Saturn’s rings are composed primarily of water ice, but they may also include rocky particles with icy coatings. As large as Saturn’s rings appear, they are remarkably thin, just one kilometer thick. Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system; Saturn’s diameter around the equator is 120,536 kilometers.

In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture. The associated Greek god, Cornus, was the son of Uranus and Gaia and the father of Zeus (Jupiter). Saturn also is the root of the English word “Saturday”. Saturn has the most moons of any other planet in the solar system, with thirty named moons plus one discovered in 2003. Some scientists say that Saturn could have so many moons because of what the planet’s rings are made up of. In other words, Saturn may not have a set number of moons because the rings could constantly be producing moons to orbit Saturn.