Saturn

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun in the Solar System and also the second largest planet. Categorised as the Jovian, Saturn is a gas giant and is the only planet which has a density lesser than water which is around 0.687 gcm-3. This planet was named after the Roman God Saturn which is also equated to the Greek God Kronos.

Since this planet is large, it is visible from Earth as well. With its massive planetary ring around the planet, Saturn could not be missed. The theory of how Saturn gained its planetary ring is that the rings are remnants of a moon destroyed by Saturn. The second theory is that the rings are left over from the original nebular material from which Saturn formed. This ring actually extend from 6630 km to 120 700 km above Saturn’s equator and the average is approximately 20 meters in thickness, and are composed of 93 percent water ice with a smattering of tholin impurities, and 7 percent amorphous carbon.

Saturn is also an oblate spheroid which basically means that it is flattened at the poles but bulges at the equator. Though this planet is the only planet that is less dense than water, the core of Saturn is said to be denser than water. The core region is estimated to be about 9–22 times the mass of the Earth. Saturn has a very hot interior, reaching 11,700 °C at the core, and it radiates 2.5 times more energy into space than it receives from the Sun. The outer atmosphere of Saturn consists of about 96.3% molecular hydrogen and 3.25% helium. Trace amounts of ammonia, acetylene, ethane, phosphine, and methane have also been detected. The upper clouds on Saturn are composed of ammonia crystals, while the lower level clouds appear to be composed of either ammonium hydrosulfide (NH4SH) or water.

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