Related topics: cassini spacecraft · nasa · moon · solar system · earth

Cassini reveals new sculpting in Saturn rings

As NASA's Cassini dove close to Saturn in its final year, the spacecraft provided intricate detail on the workings of Saturn's complex rings, new analysis shows.

Saturn hasn't always had rings

One of the last acts of NASA's Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn's hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity ...

Computer model explains sustained eruptions on icy Enceladus

The Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers erupting on Saturn's moon Enceladus since 2005, but the process that drives and sustains these eruptions has remained a mystery. Now, scientists at the University of Chicago and ...

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Saturn

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn, along with Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, is classified as a gas giant. Together, these four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian, meaning "Jupiter-like", planets.

Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn (that became the namesake of Saturday), equated to the Greek Kronos (the Titan father of Zeus) the Babylonian Ninurta and to the Hindu Shani. Saturn's symbol represents the god's sickle (Unicode: ♄).

The planet Saturn is composed of hydrogen, with small proportions of helium and trace elements. The interior consists of a small core of rock and ice, surrounded by a thick layer of metallic hydrogen and a gaseous outer layer. The outer atmosphere is generally bland in appearance, although long-lived features can appear. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 km/h, significantly faster than those on Jupiter. Saturn has a planetary magnetic field intermediate in strength between that of Earth and the more powerful field around Jupiter.

Saturn has a prominent system of rings, consisting mostly of ice particles with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. Sixty-one known moons orbit the planet, not counting hundreds of "moonlets" within the rings. Titan, Saturn's largest and the Solar System's second largest moon (after Jupiter's Ganymede), is larger than the planet Mercury and is the only moon in the Solar System to possess a significant atmosphere.

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