Saturn Facts

  • Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, and last of the planets known to ancient civilizations.
  • In Roman mythology Saturn was the father of Jupiter, king of the gods. This relationship makes sense given that the planets Saturn and Jupiter are similar in so many respects, including size and composition.
  • The most common nickname for Saturn is "The Ringed Planet," a nickname arising from the large and beautiful ring system that encircles the planet.
  • An unusual quality of Saturn is that it gives off more energy than it receives from the Sun. This heat is believed to be generated from the planet's gravitational compression as well as the friction created by the large amounts of helium found in the atmosphere.
  • It takes Saturn 29.5 (Earth) years to orbit the sun.
  • The winds on Saturn are by far the fastest of any planet in the Solar System. They have been measured at 1,800 kilometers per hour (1,100 miles per hour).
  • Saturn is the least dense planet in the Solar System. It has a density less than water, so it would float!
  • Titan is the second largest moon in the Solar System, behind Jupiter's moon.
  • It takes Saturn an average of 10 and a half hours to complete one rotation about its own axis.
  • Saturn appears a pale yellow color because its upper atmosphere contains ammonia crystals.
  • The magnetic field on Saturn is slighter weaker than Earth's magnetic field.
  • Even though Saturn is called a gas giant, scientists believe it has a solid core.
  • Saturn and Jupiter together contain 92% of all the mass from the planets in the Solar System.
  • The interior of Saturn is very hot, reaching temperatures of up to 11,700C (21,000 F).
  • The outer atmosphere of Saturn contains 96% hydrogen and 3% helium. The rest is made up of small amounts of other elements, although scientists do not know their exact quantities.
  • The average distance from the sun to Saturn is more than 1.4 billion kilometers (0.9 billion miles).