Saturn: Saturn and Planetary Rings Essay

Submitted By yurihong0903
Words: 391
Pages: 2

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth. While only one-eighth the average density of Earth, with its larger volume Saturn is just over 95 times as massive as Earth. Saturn's interior is probably composed of a core of iron, nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds), surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium and an outer gaseous layer. Electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is slightly weaker than Earth's and around one-twentieth the strength of Jupiter's. The outer atmosphere is generally bland and lacking in contrast, although long-lived features can appear. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 km/h (1,100 mph). Saturn is probably best known for its system of planetary rings, which makes it the most visually remarkable object in the solar system. The rings extend from 6,630 km to 120,700 km above Saturn's equator, average approximately 20 meters in thickness and are composed of 93% water ice with traces of tholin impurities and 7% amorphous carbon. The particles that make up the rings range in size from specks of dust up to 10 m. There are two main theories regarding the origin of the rings. One theory is that the rings are remnants of a destroyed moon of Saturn. The second theory is that…