. The northern hemisphere of Saturn can appear partly blue for the same reason that Earth's skies can appear blue -- molecules in the cloudless portions of both planet's atmospheres are better at scattering blue light than red. When looking deep into Saturn's clouds, however, the natural gold hue of Saturn's clouds becomes dominant.
“Last December, a remarkable thing happened at Saturn. A massive, hissing, lightning-producing storm violently erupted in the northern mid-latitudes of Saturn’s atmosphere and grew to gargantuan proportions.” says Carolyn Porco. “By the end of January, it had wrapped itself entirely around the planet, developing an enormous degree of wavy, even sensuous, details, reminiscent of the clouds on Jupiter.”
Scientists at NASA have discovered a nearly invisible ring around Saturn -- one so large that it would take 1 billion Earths to fill it. The ring's orbit is tilted 27 degrees from the planet's main ring plane. The bulk of it starts about 3.7 million miles (6 million km) away from the planet and extends outward another 7.4 million miles (12 million km).
The researchers think superfine snowflakes are blasted out of geyser-like jets, which emanate from long fissures called tiger stripes on the moon's southern hemisphere. Some of the snow from these plumes falls back to the moon's surface, coating older fractures and craters in a slow process of accumulation.
Taken by NASA's Cassini robotic orbiter, the shot was captured from the dark side of Saturn as the Sun's bright rays illuminated every piece of dust and debris circling the planet. Cassini has offered astronomers a never-before-seen look at Saturn and revealed more information about the planet than any craft before it
Saturn has the lowest density of any planet, 0.7 g/cc, which is less than that of water. Saturn is of such low density that it would float in a (gigantic) bathtub
After an epic journey of seven years and 3.5 billion kilometres, the Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn orbit on 1 July 2004. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a $3 billion, 4-year tour of Saturn, its rings and many of its 40-odd known moons. No other spacecraft had been near the solar system's second largest planet since the Voyager flybys of the 1980s.
Because Saturn is the farthest planet from the sun visible to the naked eye, its movements in our sky are very slow. It has been in the constellation Virgo, close to Spica, for a couple of years now. The moon, on the other hand, is very close to Earth, so appears to move relatively quickly across the sky.
In 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was the first to observe Saturn through a telescope. In 1659, Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens proposed that Saturn was surrounded by a thin, flat ring. In 1675, Italian-born astronomer Jean-Dominique Cassini discovered a division between what are now called the A and B rings.
The Planet Saturn is the second largest planet. It is the next planet after Jupiter. Saturn is named after a Roman God and is famous for its beautiful rings. It is one of the windiest places in the Solar System. The wind speeds have reached 1800 km per hour at the equator.
The average temperature on Saturn is –300° F (–184° C). To escape Saturn's gravity, you need to travel 79,400 miles (127,800 km) per hour, compared to 25,000 miles (40,200 km) per hour necessary to escape Earth's gravity.
Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun, has a ring system made up of ice and rock particles, some as big as a minivan. Saturn would hold 9 1/2 Earths spread across its face. It is the second-largest planet in the solar system and has a diameter of 74,900 miles (120,500 kilometers).