The Universe Made Simple/The Solar System/Saturn


Saturn has 2 prominent rings and one faint ring that can be seen from Earth. They are known as A, B, and C, where C is the faintest ring seen. Each is composed of very small objects, and each in an independent orbit. The rings are about 250,000 km in diameter but only one km thick. They contain very little material, mostly water and ice. The rings of Saturn are not stable but continuously regenerated in an ongoing process. The current set of rings is only a few hundred million years old. Saturn itself is oblate, visibly flattened due to its rotation and fluid state. It is the least dense of all of the planets and has a gravity of .7.

Saturn is made up of 75% hydrogen and 25% helium. The interior of Saturn is similar to Jupiter and thus not much about it is known. The core temperature is 12,000° K. Saturn does have a magnetic field which is very large.