Written and Illustrated by Lauren Lan

What Galileo Saw

Did you know that Galileo looked through his teliscope and saw a planet with “ears”? That planet was Saturn, and it’s ears were Saturn’s rings. Saturn is the 6th planet from the sun.

Saturn’s Rings

Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch astronomer said that Saturn’s “ears” were really rings around Saturn. Saturn has multiple rings. Saturn’s rings are made of particles of water and ice. Some are big and others small. The rings may contain dust and rocks. Saturn’s ring span is 155,000 miles. It’s less than one mile thick. It has little rings that make up it’s bigger rings. Saturn’s rings make it one of the most beautiful planets in the solar system.

Saturn’s Atmosphere

Saturn is mostly made of gas, which makes the atmosphere. The atmosphere

on Saturn is very cold. Because the atmosphere is very cold, it freezes to crystals. The crystals make clouds that circle the atmosphere. People look at the clouds instead of the surface when they look at Saturn. Saturn’s clouds are -193 degrees fahrenheit. Scientists have not seen the surface of Saturn, but think that its surface is liquid. Usually gas is invisible, but because of the cold temperature on Saturn you can see the gas. There are storms which make it look like there are swirls in the clouds. It takes 29.5 Earth years for Saturn to finish one orbit around the sun. Saturn spins faster than Earth. A day on Saturn takes 10 Earth hours and 39 Earth minutes. Because Saturn spins so quickly, it causes the equator to bulge.

Saturn’s Moons

Did you know that Saturn has more than 1 moon? Saturn has more moons than any other planet in the solar system. Scientists have found more than 20 moons orbiting Saturn. Scientists think that there are still more moons, but have not discover them yet. Most of Saturn’s moons are made of rock and ice. Some moons have craters.

Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system. Only Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons is bigger. Titan has a thick atmosphere made of nitrogen, which no other moon has. Because Titan has an atmosphere made of nitrogen, it is similar to Earth. Scientists want to learn more about Titan.

Probes and Spacecrafts

Did you know that most information about Saturn comes from probes, or spacecrafts flying close to it? In 1997, Cassini Orbiter was blasted off into space. It reached Saturn in 2004. It might reveal some of Saturn’s secrets. In the 1950’s the United States and Russia started to send probes to Saturn to take pictures. Pioneer 11 took the first close up on Saturn. Saturn hides many secrets.