- Fun Facts about Saturn for Kids
- The Ringed Planet – Saturn
- One Saturn Year is 29 Earth Years!
- The Second-Largest Planet in the Solar System
- Gas Planet with a Solid Rocky Core
- Saturn Would Float On Water
- Want to Visit Saturn? The Journey Would Take 3 Years
- Saturn’s Rings
- The Rings Can Barely Fit In the Space between Earth and its Moon
- Discovering Saturn’s Rings for the First Time
- Saturn’s Moon
Fun Facts about Saturn for Kids
Named after the Roman god of harvest, Saturn is super popular due to the unique rings that surround the planet. If you love Saturn, you’ll love this super compilation of fun facts about Saturn for kids. Get ready to learn tons of new facts about this awesome planet.
The Ringed Planet – Saturn
From Earth, you can see Saturn as the fifth brightest point in the sky. Saturn is one of only five planets that can be seen from Earth.
Saturn is often compared to Jupiter because they are similar in terms of their rotation and the substances that make up the planets. In fact, in Roman mythology, Saturn is the father of the god Jupiter.
The Assyrians, a people who lived in the Middle East in ancient times, observed and recorded Saturn in 8 BC.
One Saturn Year is 29 Earth Years!
In the Solar System, Saturn is the sixth nearest planet to the Sun. The distance between the Sun and Saturn is over 885 million miles (1,426,000,000km)! Because of this, Saturn takes 29 years to orbit around the Earth.
The Assyrians gave the planet the nickname of “Lubadsagush”, meaning “oldest of the old” because it moved slowly against the stars.
Saturn has seasons, as it also tilts at a degree similar to Earth. However, the seasons wouldn’t be very different from each other because Saturn doesn’t receive as much sunlight as Earth. It takes about 1 hour and 2 minutes for light to travel from Saturn and then to bounce back to Earth.
The Second-Largest Planet in the Solar System
It would take 760 Earths to make up the size of Saturn. Saturn and Jupiter together constitute 92% of the total planetary mass in the Solar System. The diameter of Saturn is 9.5 times that of Earth! Saturn’s surface area is also about 83 times bigger.
It’s also the flattest planet, as its length running up and down is only 90% of its width from left to right. Saturn rotates very fast as one day on Saturn is only 10 hours and 15 minutes, compared to 24 hours on Earth. Only Jupiter has a faster rotation than Saturn in the solar system! It’s this fast rotation that causes the shape of the planet with a bulging middle part and narrowing the north and south poles.
Gas Planet with a Solid Rocky Core
Saturn is made up of a solid rocky core surrounded by liquid metallic hydrogen and further covered by hydrogen gas. It is one of the four planets in the Solar System called the “Jovian Planets” because they are made out of gas. It’s impossible to stand on the surface of Saturn because you would fall right through the hydrogen gas.
The temperature on Saturn is around -288 degrees Fahrenheit or -178 degrees Celsius. Once you get to the inside of Saturn, however, it can reach temperatures of 11,700 degrees Celsius or 21,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s scorching hot!
Saturn looks brownish-yellow because of the mixture of yellow ammonia crystals that exist in the atmosphere, orange ammonia hydrosulfide and the white of the water. Its atmosphere is made up of ammonia ice, water ice below them and then layers of sulfur ice and hydrogen. Next up is one of the most interesting fun facts about Saturn for kids.
Saturn Would Float On Water
Made up of hydrogen and helium, Saturn is the least dense planet in the Solar System. If you could find a sea of water large enough to fit Saturn, Saturn would float on water!
It’s also heavier than Earth, weighing 95 times more than the weight of Earth.
There are frequent storms on Saturn, and the wind speed can go up to 1,800km/h or 1,100 miles/h. There are even lightning strikes that are much more powerful than the lightning strikes on Earth! You can see white oval spots on the surface of Saturn, which represent huge and gargantuan storms taking place on Saturn. The Great White Spot of Saturn is made up of large periodic storms that encircle the planet and happen once every year on Saturn which is about every 30 years on Earth.
There is a very strong magnetic field that traps energy particles. Hence there are high levels of radiation on Saturn.
Gravity is also higher on Saturn. If you weighed 100 pounds or 45 kilograms on Earth, you would only weigh 107 pounds (49 kilograms) on Saturn! How’s that for fun facts about Saturn for kids?
Want to Visit Saturn? The Journey Would Take 3 Years
If you wanted to travel from Earth to Saturn, it would take 3 years on a space shuttle! Four space shuttles have visited Saturn, which are the Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Cassini-Huygen. The latest visit was by Cassini-Huygen, and the spacecraft entered Saturn’s orbit on 1 July 2004. It sent back images and data about the planet, rings and moons and crashed into Saturn on September 2017.
Now we go on to the next fascinating set of fun facts about Saturn for kids – the rings of Saturn!
Saturn is well known for the rings that surround it and there are tons of fun facts about Saturn’s for kids regarding the rings. Some rings have a width of thousands of while others are only a few hundred thick. The rings have 7 layers and are made almost completely out of ice. Millions of ice crystals combine to form the rings, and the ice crystals have very different sizes. Scientists believe that the rings were formed from comets and asteroids that broke into millions of pieces before they reached Saturn. Ice reflects sunlight, which is why we can see the rings from telescopes on Earth.
The 7 layers of rings are labelled A, B, C, D, E, F and G in the order that they were discovered. Rings A, B and C are the main rings that we can see from Earth with a regular telescope. A powerful telescope can see 8 rings. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft counted over 30 rings that were clustered into the 7 layers.
The last layer of Saturn’s 7 rings is kept in place by Prometheus and Pandora, two of Saturn’s moons. These moons are also called the “shepherd moons”.
The Rings Can Barely Fit In the Space between Earth and its Moon
The rings stretch more than 155,000 miles or 250,000 in total and are very thin with only 30 feet or 10 of width. The Cassini Division is a space 3,000 miles wide that separates Rings A and B. All the rings together are wide enough to fit in the space between the Earth and its Moon!
The rings start about 7,000km above the equator of Saturn, before stretching out another 73,000km.
Saturn’s rings aren’t actually completely flat. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft discovered bumps and ridges on the ring that go as high as 2 miles or 3 kilometres.
Discovering Saturn’s Rings for the First Time
The rings were first seen by Galileo Galilei in 1610 when he looked through the telescope. He thought that Saturn was surrounded by two moons because he didn’t have the advanced telescopes we have today. Later in 1659, Christiaan Huygens observed and concluded that the objects Galileo saw were, in fact, a ring system that went around Saturn.
Sometimes the rings of Saturn look like they have disappeared because of the way the planet tilts. This happens every 14 years.
The first time Man got a close-up view of the rings was when the Pioneer 11 spacecraft flew past Saturn on 1 September 1971.
Feel like you know all there is to know about Saturn? There are even more fun facts about Saturn for kids below!
Saturn’s moons are fascinating and are the source of so many fun facts about Saturn for kids.
Saturn has at least 82 moons. More moons are being discovered every year! It has the largest number of satellites in the Solar System.
Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan, is bigger than Mercury! Titan is also the only that has an atmosphere and is the second-largest moon in the Solar System. Nitrogen largely makes up its atmosphere. Titan itself is ice and rock. The surface of Titan has liquid lakes of methane. Scientists guess that Titan may have life, but the animals and plants that live there would not be similar to the ones we know on Earth.
Rhea is the second-largest moon and named after the mother of the gods in Greek mythology. It is made up of three-quarters water ice and one-quarter rock.
One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, also looks like it has an ocean that is hidden below its icy surface.
Many of the moons of Saturn are named after the Titans, which were the sisters and brothers of the god Saturn in Roman mythology.
Some moons have unique characteristics. Pan and Atlas are in the shape of flying saucers, while Iapetus literally has a dark and light side with one side being white and the other side being black. Iapetus also has the nickname of being the “Yin-Yang” of the Solar System because of this.
That brings us to the end of an in-depth list of fun facts about Saturn for kids. Saturn has fascinated Man since ancient times when Man could see it in the sky. With technology and spacecraft, we have learned a lot more about Saturn and continue to make discoveries about the Ringed Planet.