Top Saturn Facts
Top Saturn Facts
Known as the planet with rings, here are more facts you need to know about Saturn.
I'm Robert Massey and I'm here from the Royal Astronomical Society which is one of the biggest astronomical organizations in the world and we look after the interests of astronomers not just in the UK but across the world. What I'm going to do today is give you a few pointers to get you started in astronomy which I think is one of the most incredibly interesting subjects there is. Saturn is the second biggest planet in the solar system after Jupiter and it's also the most distant one you can easily see with your eye without a telescope.
But it's most famous not for its size or for its distance but for the fact that it's got this fantastic ring system. Literally thousands of strings are stretching out from the planet and it's fairly easy to see this for yourself with a small telescope or even a very good pair of binoculars and they're discovered something like 350 years ago. Now if you were to go there, you would find that the rings, although they look solid, they're not at all.
They're actually made up of literally trillions and more of particles ranging from the size of, say, dust right up to the size of a double-decker bus or a taxi all in orbit around the planet, and as well as the rings, it's got its own weather systems, a big haze over the planet that shields some of those from the Earth but nonetheless, a pretty dramatic place and a whole retinue of moons as well and other 60 or so that we know about. Two of these are very exotic places. There's Cela dis which appears to be an icy world with jets of liquid water coming out of it into space, and Titan which is a moon with a thick atmosphere.
We've literally sent just one space probe that landed on its surface and sent back a view of a very strange place indeed with rivers and oceans made up not of water but of liquid methane. .