Pictures of Saturn
Beautiful pictures of the ringed planet Saturn and facts about the gas giant, the second biggest planet in our Solar System.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun in our Solar System and is the second largest, after Jupiter. Just like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant planet, consisting mostly of hydrogen and helium.
The planet’s most famous feature is undoubtedly its rings. Saturn’s rings have captivated astronomers since they were first spotted by Galileo in 1610 and are a favourite target of astrophotographers, who love capturing pictures of them.
The rings consist of billions of fragments of ice that vary in size from a grain of sand to boulders several metres across. They amount to a disc spanning 250,000km from side to side, yet only 1km thick.
Facts about Saturn
- Diameter: 116,464km (9.14 times Earth), 250,000km including rings
- Mass: 568 trillion trillion kg (95 times Earth)
- Distance from the Sun: 1433.5 million km (9.58 AU)
- Length of day: 10.7 hours
- Length of year: 29.4 years
- Number of moons: 82
- Average temperature: -140ºC
- Type of planet: Gas giant
Why is it called Saturn?
The Roman god Saturn was the god of agriculture and wealth, but his role was later combined with the Cronus, the Greek god of time.
It was from this last role that Saturn most likely got its name, as it is the slowest moving of the naked-eye planets in their journey across the night sky.
As Saturn was one of the Titans, most of the larger moons were named after his fellow mythological giants.
As better observing techniques discovered more moons, they were named after giants from other mythologies, including Inuit, Gallic and Norse.
Pictures of Saturn
Below are some of the best pictures of Saturn captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers from around the world.