Essay, Research Paper: Saturn 

Astronomy

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Saturn is the second largest planet and sixth from the sun. Saturn is most known
for its rings, first seen in 1610 by Italian scientist Galileo and identified as
rings by Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens in 1655. The rings consist greater
than 100,000 single ringlets. It is the most oblate planet because of the rapid
rotation of the planet, which flattens Saturn at the poles by about 10%. Its
composition is mostly composed of hydrogen and helium. It is mostly liquid, with
a small rocky core expected, but not directly observe. At the center, heavy
elements have probably settled into the small rocky core with a temperature
close to 15,000 C (27,000 F). Saturn also has an international heat source (it
radiates more energy than it receives). The gravitational pull causes it to emit
three times as much heat as it receives from the sun. Saturn’s atmosphere is
88% hydrogen and 11% helium, with traces of other gasses. The body of Saturn
rotates with a period of 10 hours 39 minutes 25 seconds. The ring system of
Saturn is divided into 5 major components: the G, F, A, B, and C rings, listed
from the outside to inside (but in reality, these major divisions are subdivided
into thousands of individual ringlets). The F and G rings are thin and difficult
to see, while the A, B, and C rings are broad and easily visible. The large gap
between the A ring and the B ring is called the Cassaini division. The visible
rings of Saturn stretch out to a distance of 136,200-km (84,650 miles) from
Saturn’s center, but in many regions they may be only 5 meters thick. They
contain rocks, frozen gases, and water ice in lumps. One of the rings is even
dense enough to block sunlight. Saturn’s current number of known satellites is
19. These range in size from Titan, the second largest moon in the Solar System,
to small asteroid like objects. The moons are Atlas, Calypso, Dione, Enceladus,
Epimetheus, Helene, Hyperion, Iapetus, Janus, Mimas, Pan, Pandora, Phoebe,
Prometheus, Rhea, Telesto, Tethys, and Titan. There are extemely high velocity
winds in the atmosphere of Saturn have been measured to be as high as 1800
km/hr.
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