Way out beyond Jupiter is the second of the gas giants, Saturn.
When Galileo focused his telescope on Saturn he was puzzled to find that it had an irregular shape. Unfortunately the quality of his telescope meant that Galileo could only guess at what caused this effect. As the quality of telescopes improved later in the century, astronomers were able to solve the puzzle and for the first time see the rings of Saturn.

Saturn is situated in the icy depths of the solar system and the rings consist of ice and ice covered rocks. It is possible that the rings are the remnants of an icy moon that was destroyed by a collision with a comet or they could be the leftovers of the cloud of ice and gas that originally formed Saturn.

Saturn has more moons than any other planet in the solar system. It's largest moon, Titan, is also the only moon in the solar system that has an atmosphere. It is permanently surrounded by orange cloud that releases methane rain onto it's surface.

Saturn Statistics
 Equatorial radius (km)60,268 
 Mean distance from the Sun (km)1,429,400,000 
 Mean distance from the Sun (Earth = 1)9.5388 
 Rotational period (hours)10.233 
 Orbital period (years)29.458 
 Mean cloud temperature-125°C 
 Atmospheric pressure (bars)1.4 
 Atmospheric composition



With the naked eye Saturn appears as a stellar like object.

Viewed through a telescope Saturn is one of the most beautiful objects in the night sky. Even in a small telescope the rings should be easily visible. On a good night you should also be able to see the shadow of the planet across the rings behind it. In the same plane as the rings a star will be visible to the side of the planet. This is Titan, the largest of Saturn's many moons.

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