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Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the most distant that can be seen with the naked eye. Saturn is the second largest planet and is best known for its fabulous ring system that was first observed in 1610 by the astronomer Galileo Galilei. Like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant and is composed of similar gasses including hydrogen, helium, and methane.
See the fact file below for more information on the Saturn or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Saturn worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
SATURN PLANET PROFILE
- Equatorial Diameter: 120,536 km
- Polar Diameter: 108,728 km
- Mass: 5.68 × 10^26 kg (95 Earths)
- Moons: 62
- Rings: (7 Groups)
- Orbit Distance: 1,426,666,422 km (9.54 AU)
- Orbit Period: 10,756 days (29.5 years)
- Effective Temperature: -178 °C
- Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and 2, and the Cassini-Huygens mission have all studied the planet.
- The first close up observations of Saturn were made by NASA’s Pioneer 11 spacecraft, which made a flyby of the planet on September 1, 1979 at a distance of only 21,000 km above the planet’s cloud tops. It sent back the first close-up images of Saturn. In November 1980, the Voyager 1 probe visited the Saturn system. It sent back the first high-resolution images of the planet, its rings, and satellites. Surface features of various moons were seen for the first time. Almost a year later, in August 1981, Voyager 2 continued the study of the Saturn system. More close-up images of Saturn’s moons were acquired, as well as evidence of changes in the atmosphere and the rings. Cassini-Huygens orbited Saturn from July 2004 until September 2017, sending back a wealth of data about the planet, its moons, and rings.
- With a radius of 36,183.7 miles (58,232 kilometers), Saturn is 9 times wider than Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Saturn would be about as big as a volleyball. From an average distance of 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers), Saturn is 9.5 AU (astronomical unit). From this distance, it takes sunlight 80 minutes to travel from the Sun to Saturn. With an average orbital speed of 9.68 km/s, it takes Saturn 10,759 Earth days (or about 29 1⁄2 years) to finish one revolution around the Sun.
- Saturn has the second-shortest day in the solar system. One day on Saturn takes only 10.7 hours (the time it takes for Saturn to rotate or spin around once). Its axis is tilted by 26.73 degrees with respect to its orbit around the Sun, which is similar to Earth’s 23.5-degree tilt.
- It’s hard to imagine, but Saturn is the only planet in our solar system whose average density is less than water. Saturn’s atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen (96%) and helium (3%) with traces of other substances like methane, ammonia, acetylene, ethane, propane, and phosphine. Winds in the upper atmosphere can reach speeds of 500 metres a second, these combined with heat rising from within the planet’s interior cause yellow and gold bands.
MOONS OF SATURN
- Saturn has at least 62 moons orbiting it, some of them are inside the ring system which helps shape the rings. They range from very tiny being less than a kilometer in diameter to spherical moons such as Titan. Their shapes range from irregular to ellipsoidal to almost completely rounded.
RINGS OF SATURN
- The first of Saturn’s moons to be observed was Titan in 1655 by Christiaan Huygens. Another moon was not found until 1671 when Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered Iapetus. Two of Saturn’s moons (Janus & Epimetheus) swap orbits every 4 years.
- Notable Moons – Titan, Enceladus, Iapetus, Rhea, Mimas, Tethys, and Dione.
- The rings were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610 who observed them with a telescope. Saturn’s rings are made up of billions of particles that range in size from tiny dust grains to objects as large as mountains. These are made up of chunks of ice and rock, believed to have come from asteroids, comets, or even moons that broke apart before they reached the planet. Saturn’s rings are divided into 7 groups. Starting at Saturn and moving outward, there is the D ring, C ring, B ring, A ring, F ring, G ring, and finally, the E ring.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Saturn across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Saturn worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Saturn which is the sixth planet from the Sun and the most distant that can be seen with the naked eye. Saturn is the second largest planet and is best known for its fabulous ring system that was first observed in 1610 by the astronomer Galileo Galilei. Like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant and is composed of similar gasses including hydrogen, helium, and methane.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Saturn Facts
- The Rings
- Discovering Saturn
- The Gas Giant
- Breaking News
- Notable Moons I
- Notable Moons II
- 7 Rings
- Can We Survive?
- Saturn’s Profile
- Moon Titan
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Link will appear as Saturn Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 21, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.