With its stunning rings and frequent appearances in movies and TV shows, Saturn has long captured the fascination of humans. But besides some impressive photos, what do you really know about the ringed planet? If you want to discover more about Saturn, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up our favorite facts about Saturn to help you learn more about this amazing planet!
#1 Saturn’s Rings Are Made of Chunks of Ice and Rock.
Saturn’s rings are made of chunks of ice and rock coated with dust or other materials. The ring particles range in size from dust-sized grains to chunks as large as mountains. They are thought to be pieces of comets, asteroids, or shattered moons that broke up before they reached the planet, torn apart by Saturn’s gravity.
#2 Saturn Has a Lot in Common with the Sun.
While Saturn shares many of the same components as the Sun (it is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium), the gas giant lacks the necessary mass to undergo the fusion that would be needed to power a star.
#3 Saturn Is the Lightest Planet.
Although Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and a gas giant, it is also the lightest planet. In fact, it is so light that it would float in water if there was a body of water that was large enough to place it in!
#4 Saturn Has Some Unique Moons.
Pan is the innermost of Saturn’s known moons. Interestingly, Pan has a prominent equatorial ridge that gives it a flying saucer shape. Atlas, another one of Saturn’s moons, also has an equatorial ridge.
#5 Saturn Has Short Days and Long Years.
Saturn has short days and long years. It takes Saturn approximately 10.7 hours to rotate on its axis once, which means the length of Saturn’s day is much shorter than a day here on Earth. However, it takes Saturn the equivalent of 29 Earth-years to orbit the Sun once, which means that Saturn’s year is extremely long!
#6 Saturn Is the Flattest Planet.
Saturn is the flattest planet in our solar system. Due to its low density and rapid rotation, Saturn’s diameter at the equator is only about 10% greater than its diameter from pole to pole.
#7 Saturn Has 83 Moons.
Saturn has 63 confirmed moons. Another 20 are currently awaiting confirmation of their discovery and naming by the International Astronomical Union, bringing the total number of moons associated with Saturn to an impressive 83!