Last Updated on July 31, 2021 by Neil Mackengie
In 1610, Galileo, the man who first explored the heavens with a telescope, first noticed something strange about Saturn—it seemed to have things sticking out of its sides!
In 1655, a man called Christian Huygens studied Saturn with a better telescope, and he saw something so strange he was afraid to tell anyone about it! So he set down his observations in a code, which, when translated. says: “It is girdled by a thin fiat ring, nowhere touching, inclined to the ecliptic”.
The rings of the planet Saturn, so startling to the first men who noticed them, still remain one of the great mysteries of our solar system. In fact, as far as is known, such rings exist nowhere else in the heavens.
Of course, aside from the rings, we do know certain things about the planet Saturn. It takes [email protected] years to go around the sun, it is second in size to Jupiter, and it has nine satellites that revolve around it. It has an atmosphere around it that we cannot penetrate, but what we do see is not solid matter. There may be some rocky metallic material at the core of the planet.
And it has those mysterious rings. There are three train rings all on the same plane (like three rings you might make on an 8at dish), and they lie in the plane of Saturn’s equator. The rings extend outward for about 170,0011 miles.
The middle ring is the brightest. It is separated from the outer ring by a gap about 1,800 miles wide. The inner ring is very dim. Other faint outer rings have been detected by spacecraft and one may even extend from the inside ring almost down to the cloud tops of the planet.
The rings are not solid but are composed of pieces of ice-coated rubble orbiting the planet like tiny “moonlets’. They may be fragments of a moon that has never been formed.
Which Of The Planets Have Rings?
The most prominent and most famous planetary rings in the Solar System are those around Saturn, but the other three giant planets (Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune) also have ring systems.
NASA’s space probe Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, we’ve been aware of the rings’ existence, but we’ve never been able to visually confirm that they’re real. And that means we’ve never been able to know how many rings there are around Saturn! Right now, it’s believed that Saturn has 15 or 16 rings, but the exact number is a mystery.
The rings of Saturn are the only known circle of Saturn, the rings are made of ice and rock dust, they stretch thousands of miles, and they are some of the most beautiful sights in the solar system. The rings are composed of five main bands, with up to 37 gaps in between them. The gaps are so far apart that when you look at one of the rings from Earth, you can see the ones that surround it.
Like all gas giants, Saturn has an atmosphere that is mostly hydrogen and helium and has a surface temperature of -268 degrees Celsius (-447 Fahrenheit). The temperature on the surface is determined by the planet’s proximity to its parent star, which is very hot. Saturn is also the coldest planet in the Solar System, because of its distance from the Sun.
The planet Saturn is known by many names: the ringed planet, the second planet from the sun, the planet of the gods, and the planet of mystery. The Romans named it Saturn, while the Greeks called it Atlas. It was known as a planet of the gods long before the invention of writing, and for many people, it continues to be associated with the divine. Saturn is one of the oldest of the planets, having existed for more than four thousand years. It was only made known to the ancients after the time of ancient Greece when it was believed to be a ringed planet, similar to Uranus. It was not until the time of ancient China that Saturn was well known when it was considered the king of the planets