Did you have questions about Saturn’s beautiful rings? Ever wondered what would it be like to have rings around our planet? Would we ever visit them? If you had these questions, then you and I might be suffering from the same disease, space addiction (if that’s a thing). I love to read and research facts about space, planet facts, and pretty much everything that is beyond our reach. Scientists are achieving breakthroughs and discovering new things only to astonish the world. In this blog post I am sharing some of the most perplexing Saturn facts for kids, but, as always, these facts are not just for kids as they contain imperative and deep information.
BTW, did you know Saturday was named after the planet Saturn?
Saturn’s has a nickname: The Jewel of the Solar System, because it has such beautiful rings.
10 perplexing Saturn facts for kids
Saturn was named after the Roman King of Gods, Jupiter
Saturn and Jupiter have similar composition and size, that is why it was named as the Father of Jupiter.
A year and a day on Saturn
One year at Saturn means 29.4 years on Earth. And 1 day at Saturn means just 10 hours and 14 minutes. Just like Jupiter, Saturn also has one of the fastest rotation speeds.
Saturn has a moon that has an Atmosphere (no other moon in solar system has one)
Saturn’s moon Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system (only behind Jupiter’s Ganymede). Interestingly, Titan has its own atmosphere, none of the other moons in the entire solar system have their own Atmosphere. Moreover, Titan is one of the few objects in space that has definite proof of surface water. This is one my favorite Saturn facts for kids as Titan is one a kind.
You cannot stand on Saturn’s rings, they’re just for show
Saturn’s rings consist of particles of dust, ice, and rocks. These particles are in a lot of sizes, from the size of a sand grain to as big as 1 km. The rings are massive but have a thickness of not more than 1 km. Interestingly, there are 7 rings of Saturn (A to G) but we can only see 3 of them ordinarily. Main rings of Saturn begin from a height of 7,000 km from its equator and extend up to 73,000 km. This is one of the most shocking Saturn facts for kids for those t o thought we could walk on the rings.
Saturn’s Atmosphere is mainly 96% hydrogen and 3% helium. Winds can reach as fast as 1800 km per hour in the upper atmosphere and when the planet’s heat emanates from within, these winds turn yellow and creamy in color. In stark contrast, Earth’s strongest hurricane ever recorded produced winds at 394 km per hour. Now you can imagine what 1800 km per hour could be like.
Saturn too, like Jupiter, doesn’t have any surface
Saturn purely consists of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium, much like Jupiter.
How many probes have visited Saturn?
Pioneer 11 flyby
This mission visited Saturn on September 1, 1979, and took low-resolution images that didn’t show the detailed surface. It mainly studied its beautiful rings and also discovered the F-ring that is really thin. Interestingly, it also measured the temperature of Titan, Saturn’s moon at -23.15 degree Celsius.
Voyager 1 visited Saturn in November 1980 and was the first probe to send high-resolution images of the planet, its rings and its moon including Titan. It proved that Titan’s thick atmosphere is impenetrable and thus, its surface details were not closely examined.
Voyager 2 studied Saturn starting August 1981 and took close shots of the Saturn’s beautiful moons including the Titan. It also happened to provide proof of the changes in the rings of Saturn. It also studied Saturn’s atmosphere and we got to know that the temperature of Saturn on the highest levels of the atmosphere was -203 degree Celsius and at the deepest levels, it was much warmer yet deadly cold, -130 degree Celsius.
It was a joint probe of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and (ISA) Italian Space Agency launched in 1997. Cassini was NASA’s orbiter and the Huygens lander was ESA’s lander which landed on Titan (Saturn’s largest moon). Cassini reached Saturn in 2004 and spent 13 years orbiting it and sending back valuable insights into Saturn’s atmosphere and composition. Cassini’s mission was supposed to end in 2008 but it was extended 2 times to finally end on September 15, 2017. On this day, NASA broadcast showed live coverage of the Grand Finale of Cassini diving into Saturn’s Atmosphere and burning up. It is considered as one of most successful missions of Saturn and has been touted as the “mission of firsts”.
Huygens lander which traveled with Cassini got separated on December 25, 2004, and landed on Titan with the help of a parachute. It is the first landing ever in the outer space, and also the first probe to make a landing on a moon other than our moon. I think these are not just Saturn facts kids right?
How many Earths could fit inside Saturn?
Saturn has a volume of 8.2713×1014 km3 which means 763 full Earths can easily fit inside it. Moreover, with a mass of 5.6834×1026 kg, Saturn weighs as many as 95 full Earths.
Saturn has the lowest density in the entire Solar system
A planet almost as big as Jupiter has only 30% of its density. Its density (0.687 g/cm3 )is so low that it could easily float on water if we just find enough water to dip it in of course.
Saturn’s atmospheric pressure
Saturn’s atmospheric pressure is 100 times that of our Earth. Just like Jupiter, it pulls down gas (hydrogen) and turns it into an ocean of liquid metallic hydrogen. This gigantic ocean then contributes to a very strong magnetic field. Interestingly, Hydrogen is only found in gaseous form on Earth.
Did you like these Saturn facts for kids? Want more? Find other planet facts below that would really help you to teach your kids about planets in our solar system.