(Roman mythology) God of agriculture and vegetation; counterpart of Greek Cronus
In Roman mythology, the god of agriculture, identified by the Romans with the Greek god Cronus. His period of rule was the ancient Golden Age. Saturn was dethroned by his sons Jupiter, Neptune, and Dis. At his festival, the Saturnalia in Dec, gifts were exchanged, and slaves were briefly treated as their masters' equals.
A giant planet which is surrounded by three planar concentric rings of ice particles; 6th planet from the sun.
In astronomy, the second-largest planet in the Solar System, sixth from the Sun, and encircled by bright and easily visible equatorial rings. Viewed through a telescope it is ochre. Its polar diameter is 12,000 km/7,450 mi smaller than its equatorial diameter, a result of its fast rotation and low density, the lowest of any planet. Its mass is 95 times that of Earth, and its magnetic field 1,000 times stronger.
Mean distance from the Sun 1.427 billion km/0.886 billion mi
Equatorial diameter 120,000 km/75,000 mi
Rotational period 10 hr 14 min at equator, 10 hr 40 min at higher latitudes.
Year 29.46 Earth years
Atmosphere visible surface consists of swirling clouds, probably made of frozen ammonia at a temperature of -170şC/-274şF, although the markings in the clouds are not as prominent as Jupiter’s. The space probes Voyager 1 and 2 found winds reaching 1,800 kph/1,100 mph.
Surface Saturn is believed to have a small core of rock and iron, encased in ice and topped by a deep layer of liquid hydrogen.
Satellites 18 known moons, more than for any other planet. The largest moon, Titan, has a dense atmosphere. The rings visible from Earth begin about 14,000 km/9,000 mi from the planet’s cloudtops and extend out to about 76,000 km/47,000 mi. Made of small chunks of ice and rock (averaging 1 m/3 ft across), they are 275,000 km/170,000 mi rim to rim, but only 100 m/300 ft thick. The Voyager probes showed that the rings actually consist of thousands of closely spaced ringlets, looking like the grooves in a phonograph record.
From Earth, Saturn's rings appear to be divided into three main sections. Ring A, the outermost, is separated from ring B, the brightest, by the Cassini division (named for its discoverer Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini), 3,000 km/2,000 mi wide; the inner, transparent ring C is called the Crepe Ring. Each ringlet of the rings is made of a swarm of icy particles like snowballs, a few fractions of an inch to a few yards in diameter.
Outside the A ring is the narrow and faint F ring, which the Voyagers showed to be twisted or braided. The rings of Saturn could be the remains of a shattered moon, or they may always have existed in their present form.