Saturn

Saturn is the sixth planet and is also the second largest planet in our solar system. Saturn is known as a gas giant and has an average radius about nine times that of earth while its density is only 1/8 that of the our planet. Its density is so low because Saturn is comprised mainly of gas. Saturn's interior is likely comprised of a core of various metals like iron nickle and various other types of rock. Outside of this core we find a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and helium, followed by an outer gaseous layer. Saturn is characteristically known by its ring system, which is composed mostly of ice particles and other various form of rock particles.
saturn.jpg


History of Saturn

The history of Saturn can be broken down into three main phases of observation. The first from ancient beings (by the naked eye), the second with the invention of the telescope, and the third by spacecraft and modern day observational devices.In ancient times Babylonian astronomers systematically recorded the movements of Saturn. While in Roman mythology the god Saturnus (for which it is named) was the god of harvest and agriculture. Saturn's history really began to take root with Galileo and his invention of the 15-mm-telescope. It was Galileo who discovered Saturn's rings in 1610. Christian Huygen's more powerful telescope that would identify Saturn's moon titan. As history progressed more and more moons were discovered. In 1979 the first satellite (Pioneer 11) would fly by Saturn. These images were lacking resolution and were to poor to notice surface detail but it did study its rings and celestial bodies. In 1980, Voyager 1 would take the first high definition pictures of Saturn while also flying by its moon Titan. Voyager 1 along with Voyager 2 (1981) would truly give us reliable information about the planet Saturn.

ringnames_big.gif

Applications

Saturn is the furthest of the five planets which are visible to the naked eye. Its visibility led Saturn to play a major role in roman and Greek mythology as well as various zodiacs.Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn and is exalted in Libra. In traditional astrology it is the ruling planet of Aquarius. In Roman mythology Saturn is the founder of civilization and conformity as well as the god of agriculture. It was said its rings reflect the principles of man's limitations. Saturn has also appeared in various forms of literature (fiction and science fiction), film and music. Saturn and various parts of the solar system play large roles in the sectors of education and science.
saturnss.gif


References

  1. Beiser, A. (1988). Physical Science (2nd Edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
  2. http://nineplanets.org/saturn.html
  3. PHYS Lab Journal

This WikiPage developed by Drew Walker 2011 FA.