Facts of Saturn for kids: Saturn is the sixth planet in the solar system from the Sun. After Jupiter, it makes the second largest planet in the milky way galaxy. There are many similarities between the two planets- Jupiter and Saturn. This is why Saturn has been named after the father of God Jupiter from the Roman mythology. Saturn holds a unique identity in the solar system for its rings. It’s Saturn’s rings that you can see with the help of a telescope. Saturn has more than 62 moons. Scientists are still looking for more of its moons as it might have more. With all of that being said, here are more facts of Saturn for kids.
In the 15th century, a number of people had noticed Saturn in the sky during the night. Ever since then, it has instilled curiosity in people. However, in 1610, it was Galileo who observed Saturn for the first time using a telescope. A number of man-made satellites have been sent to Saturn to observe and study its atmosphere and conditions. Cassini-Huygens was the first ever unmanned mission to Saturn. It was sent in the year 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004. Saturn is completely made of gases, unlike Earth(which makes it one of the kid facts about earth) and some other planets. This means, if you ever go to Saturn, you would be floating in it for its gases.
Atmosphere of Saturn
As already discussed, Saturn is made of gases. It can be termed as a giant gas ball. The atmosphere of Saturn is approximately composed of 75% of hydrogen and the rest 25% of helium. Besides these two gases, it also has traces of other gases like methane and water.
Saturn is a stormy planet with speedy winds blowing every now and then. The speed of the wind at the equator even reaches 1800 kilometers an hour. That would not seem like a big deal for the digits. However, to compare, the maximum speed of wind has been recorded to be about 400 kilometers an hour. This would give you a perfect idea about how windy Saturn is.
As the pressure increases in the atmosphere, there are three layers formed. the first layer is that of hydrogen in the form of gas. With an increase in the pressure, the second layer becomes liquid hydrogen and below it, there is liquid helium. It’s also debated that due to high pressure, the core of Saturn is rocky and is made of metallic hydrogen.
Rotation and Revolution
Saturn has different features that rotate at different rates. This is why there is a distribution of Saturn into regions when we talk about the rotation period. We can divide Saturn into 3 systems and talk about the rotation period for each system. The system I is the equatorial zone of Saturn, which takes 10 hours and 14 minutes to complete its rotation. System II completes its rotation in 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 24 seconds. System III takes 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 22.4 seconds for the completion of one rotation. With this data gathered by Cassini, Voyager, and Pioneer, we can infer that a day on Saturn would be approximately as long as 10 hours and 32 minutes.
It’s a well-known fact that as we talk about planets that are farther from the Sun, the revolution period increases. Saturn is situated 1.35 billion kilometers from the Sun. This definitely means Saturn takes its own sweet time to complete one revolution. Saturn revolves at a speed of 9.69 kilometers per second. Saturn takes approximately 29 Earth years to complete its one revolution. When we talk about the revolution of other planets, we mostly talk in terms of Earth years. In terms of Saturn’s day count, one year on Saturn would mean 24,491 solar days.
Saturn has the most impressive rings out of all other planets. When Galileo observed this giant planet from a telescope, he thought the rings were all moons. However, as there were advances in technology, a number of observations over the years helped in establishing that Saturn has rings. Saturn is situated with different inclinations, the view from Earth with respect to Saturn keeps changing. This is why the ring seems thicker and thinner at different times. The reason why the rings keep changing their shape is that of the gravity from the moons around Saturn.
The rings are made of ice chunks and dust particles. While some particles can be as small as sand particles, some are even as large as multi-storied buildings. It’s said that the rings were formed back when Saturn was formed. Also, it was discovered in 1675 that there are multiple rings around Saturn, which have some space between them. As observed by the spacecraft sent to Saturn, it has been observed that there are more than 500 rings which may even range up to 1000. Each ring would not be thicker than 100 meters. However, a collection of so many rings is what makes Saturn look beautiful and unique.
Seasons on Saturn
The Earth’s equator is tilted by 23 degrees, which gives it the four main seasons. The tilt of the planets is what gives them the seasons. This happens because as they orbit around the sun, some of the parts receive more sunlight than the others which leads to the seasons. Saturn has the same seasonal changes as we experience on Earth. This is because Saturn is tilted by 27 degrees on its axis.
Saturn has Been Visited by 4 Spacecraft
Only four spacecraft from Earth have been able to reach Saturn, and three of those were just brief flybys. The first unmanned spacecraft to reach Saturn was Pioneer 11, in 1979. It flew within 20,000 km of Saturn. After the Pioneer 11 flyby, the second spacecraft to flyby Saturn was Voyager 1 in 1980, and it was followed by Voyager 2 1981. However, it was not until 2004 when any spacecraft actually went into the orbit of Saturn. Cassini, the latest spacecraft to reach Saturn was the only spacecraft that actually went into the orbit of Satun and sent back photographs of the planet, its rings, and its moons. Unfortunately, after Cassini, there were no more spacecraft sent to Saturn.
Saturn has More Than 60 Moons
While Jupiter has 67 moons, Saturn has approximately 62 moons. The second largest moon in the solar system, Titan, is Saturn’s largest moon. However, most of Saturn’s moons are tiny and are just a few miles across. Out of the 62 moons discovered around Saturn, only 53 have been officially named till date. There is a probability that Saturn contains more moons that are yet to be discovered. In fact, there are theories that suggest Saturn has more than 150 moons – Now, this is a cool fact about Saturn.
Facts of Saturn for Kids
While everything we discussed was more educational, Saturn is not a boring planet! There are a number of interesting facts about Saturn that you would want to know. Here’s a list of facts of Saturn for kids!
- Saturn was the last planet to be observed by people. Despite its gigantic size and unique rings, Saturn was observed really late. The first people to observe Saturn were Babylonians and people from the far east.
- Saturn can be seen with naked eyes! On a nice starry night, you can actually observe this planet with your naked eyes. Thanks to its big size and brightness, Saturn is, in fact, the fifth brightest celestial body in the solar system.
- Saturn is a gaseous planet. This won’t seem like a big deal. However, the fact that Saturn would float in water is mind-boggling. The reason behind this is Saturn’s gaseous state. Since it’s made of hydrogen and helium, it’s the least dense of all planets. Had there been a water body big enough to accommodate Saturn, you would see Saturn floating in it.
- It’s one of the facts of Saturn for Kids; Saturn and Jupiter are the biggest of all the planets. According to facts of Jupiter for kids, they are so big that they make up 92% of the solar system’s planetary mass.
- Though Saturn is a gaseous planet, the interior part of Saturn is thought to be solid. As the pressure keeps increasing, the interior layers and the core of Saturn is made up of solid, metallic hydrogen.
- When Galileo first saw that the thickness of Saturn would keep on increasing and decreasing, he thought he was out of his mind. However, later, it was found out that it really does seem so. Saturn keeps changing its position such that the rings seem like they change their thickness from time to time.
- It’s one of the facts of Saturn for Kids; of all the planets in the solar system, Saturn is the flattest planet. This again is because of the low density and the high speed at which it revolves around the Sun.
- Most of the moons of Saturn are frozen. Moreover, it has been found that Saturn has about 150 moons. Besides moons, it also has moonlets. The largest moon of Saturn is Titan. Titan is the second largest moon in the entire solar system. Titan is made of nitrogen, rock, and water ice.
- It’s one of the facts of Saturn for Kids, that the inside of Saturn is really hot. Since the pressure increases, the core contains metallic hydrogen. The temperature is unimaginably high- up to 11,700 degree Celsius.
- Saturn emits more energy than how much it absorbs from the Sun. Since Saturn has a lot of helium in its atmosphere, the friction that results is what causes this high emission of energy.
- Saturday, the seventh day of the week is named after Saturn. The reason why it’s named so is that it’s the seventh farthest celestial body in the solar system.
- In terms of astrology, Saturn is a planet that signifies characteristics like being practical, being grounded in reality, and following social norms and structures.
- While Saturn is named after the father of Jupiter in Roman mythology, Saturn actually was the God of Agriculture or farming. As a part of the mythology, the God of agriculture used to carry a sickle with him. This tool is used as a symbol for the planet Saturn.
- It’s one of the facts of Saturn for Kids that Saturn is the only planet that has weather conditions based more on how the conditions are on it. The Sun decides the weather and climatic conditions of other planets majorly, with the inside conditions having just a bit of a role to play. This has two reasons. First of all, Saturn is situated quite far from the Sun which is why it’s not exposed to much of the Sun’s heat. Secondly, Saturn generates a lot of heat within itself which decides the weather conditions for it.
- The summers account for 8 Earth years on Saturn. These are some of the interesting facts of Saturn for kids. While Saturn is not seen to be a very interesting planet, it does have a number of unique characteristics that set it apart from other planets. Just as unique as each human is on Earth, the planets in the solar system are quite unique too.
Some More Fun Facts About Saturn for Kids
- Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system.
- The rings that you see around Saturn stretch out into space for thousands of kilometers.
- Saturn’s rings are made from millions of ice crystals, some as small as specs of dust and some as big as houses.
- The rings are separated by gaps, and they orbit around Saturn at different speeds.
- Basically, it has a small rocky core that’s completely made up of liquid gas.
- Although it’s the second largest planet in the solar system, it’s very light as it’s made up of more hydrogen than helium. It means that if you could fit Saturn in a bathtub, it would float instead of sinking.
- Like Jupiter, Saturn has many moons. Only 53 of those have been named.
- The axis of Saturn is tilted which is why you get different views of Saturn’s rings.
- On Saturn, the wind speeds can go up to 800kmp/h. This is because the planet rotates at a very fast pace and it’s made up of gases.
- Saturn has a very strong magnetic field that can trap energy particles in it. This is why the planet contains higher levels of radiation when compared with others.
There you go! The above mentioned are some of the best facts of Saturn for kids. If you know some more cool facts about Saturn that are not mentioned here, please let us know about them in the comments below.