|Saturn: The Ringed Planet|
|When seen through a telescope, Saturn is one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky. It looks like a big ball inside of rings.|
Saturn is a very large gas planet which spins very rapidly on its axis. It spins so fast that it flattens out the top and the bottom of the planet. The fast spin also causes Saturn to bulge at its equator. Saturn's atmosphere has winds which can blow at over 1800 kilometers per hour! The white spots on Saturn are believed to be powerful storms. Saturn is surrounded by over 1000 rings made of ice and dust. Some of the rings are very thin and some are very thick. The size of the particles in the rings range from pebble-size to house-size. Scientists believe that the particles came from the destruction of moons circling the planet. As comets and meteorites smashed the moons, Saturn's gravitational pull shaped the particles into rings. Saturn has at least 53 moons. Some of these moons orbit the planet within the rings, creating gaps in the rings.
True or False
The rings around Saturn contain pieces of ice which are all the size of
The rings around Saturn contain pieces of ice which are all the size of a baseball.
|Show me the Level 2 version of this page.|
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.
StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official:
If you have comments or questions about the StarChild site, please send them to us.