Planets of our Solar System: Saturn

again I am returning to series about planets, this time it is Saturn. Saturn or Kronos in Saturn (planet) large.jpgGreece was titan in greek mythology, son of Uran and Gaia.
Saturn is second largest planet in our system. It is also gas giant so you wont find there any solid surface, but there is solid core in the middle.
Kronos orbits in 9-10 AU from Sun which makes him rotate 29.46 years (that is why is was mentioning in post about transit photometry why you can not find such exoplanets by this method).

Saturn is the most flattened planet and it is because of really fast rotation (day is 10.5 hours long) and because of mettalic hydrogen which is just around the core (you can flatten much easily something liquid then solid).

Also Saturn is the least densest planet. It´s actually so not dense (what is opposite of dense?) that it would flow on the water, its density is: 0.687 g\cm3. This also does not help its gravity which is 0.91 of Earth´s on the equator.

On the northern pole there is this hexagonal “structure” which was for the first time with rest of the planet fotographed by Voyager 1 and 2 (you can see it one the gif). It is assumed that it is created by specific flow of gases and their interaction.

In the year of 2010 there was observed enormous storm running around whole planet, it had to have about 300,000 km.

Now as you can see on the first and third picture and as you surely know Saturn of all four gas giants has the biggest planetary rings. They could be made by some huge asteroid torn apart.
Those rings are 250,000 km from one side to other and only 10 meters high!

There is actually more of them “d” is the closest to Saturn, then comes “c”, the thickest “b” and “a” and “f”. There are two main gaps: Cassini division which is named after our satellite orbiting Saturn and Encke named after the guy who was observing rings.

Saturn has 62 moons as far as we know. The largest is Titan and I will make sure to make posts about some of the most important one´s and probably I will even write post only about the rings.

Only one last interesting thing: when some of the moons are little bit out of normal orbit, rings start to make “waves” which can be kilometers high.


Sources of data and pictures and some more stuff to read about:
+ amazing video by Crash Course (Saturn)