Space Series- Planet Saturn

Space Series- Planet Saturn

Saturn is the sixth planet in terms of distance from the sun and is the second largest planet in the solar system after the buyer, Saturn is classified within the gas planets such as Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. These four planets together are called “geophysical planets” in the sense of “quasi-Jupiter”.

The Earth’s radius is 9 times larger than that of Earth, but its density reaches Earth’s density, but its mass exceeds Earth’s mass by ninety-five times.

Saturn is derived from the root “Saturn” in the sense of step down and spacing. It is said to be named after Saturn in the sky, while the Latin name is derived from the “Saturn”, the god of agriculture and harvesting by the Romans, symbolizes the symbol of the legion of the Roman god mentioned above.

Environmental conditions on the surface of Saturn are extreme because of its large mass and attractiveness, experts say. Saturn consists of a high proportion of hydrogen gas and a small part of helium, and the inner part consists of rocks and ice surrounded by a broad layer of hydrogen metal and a layer of gas.

It is believed that the electric current of the mineral hydrogen layer contributes to the strength and attractiveness of the magnetic field of the planet, which is slightly less than that of the earth and the strength of one to twenty of the strength of the magnetic field of the buyer. The wind speed on its surface is about 1800 km / h, which is very fast compared to the wind speed on Jupiter’s surface.

Saturn is characterized by nine episodes of ice and dust revolving around it in one level, which gives it a distinctive shape.

There are sixty-one known satellites orbiting Saturn except for the small ones, 53 of which have been officially named. Among these satellites, Titan is the largest moon, also the second largest in the solar system, after the buyer’s “Ganymede”, larger than the planet Mercury, and is the only moon in the solar system with the atmosphere considered.

Physical properties

The planet seems to have an outline parallel to the plane with colored lines. But it is not as different as the lines of the buyer, it is mostly yellow and pale brown. This outer layer is frozen ammonia crystals that cause yellowish color. Due to the low density of Saturn and its liquid state and its fast rotation around itself, it has become a spherical plane, that is, flattened at the poles and swollen at the equator. The tropical and polar star of Saturn varies by about 10%, and they are 108,728 km (polar) and 120,536 km (equatorial).

It is worth mentioning that the other gas planets are also flat but less than Saturn. Saturn is the only planet in the solar system with less density than water. Although Saturn’s nucleus is much denser than water, the average density of the planet is 0.69 g / cm 3 because of its gaseous atmosphere. The mass of Saturn is 95 times the mass of the Earth. For comparison, Jupiter’s mass is 318 times that of Saturn, but it is about 20% larger than Saturn.

Internal structure

Although there is no direct information about Saturn’s internal structure, it is believed that its interior is similar to that of Jupiter with a small rock nucleus surrounded mostly by hydrogen and helium. The hardcore in its composition resembles the formation of the Earth’s nucleus, but it is more intense.

There is a thick layer of liquid mineral hydrogen, followed by a layer of hydrogen and liquid helium, as well as a gaseous atmosphere extending 1,000 kilometers above this. There are also small quantities of volatile substances.

The nucleus of the nucleus is estimated to be between 9 and 22 times the mass of the Earth. Saturn’s nucleus is very hot, with a temperature of 11,700 degrees Celsius, and radiates to outer space energy equivalent to 2.5 times the energy that reaches the sun.

Most of this unusual energy is generated in the nucleus by the Kelvin Helmholtz mechanism or slow gravitational pressure, but this alone may not be sufficient to explain Saturn’s higher generation of heat. A proposed additional mechanism for how Saturn generates some of this temperature is the “precipitation” of fine helium droplets buried deep inside Saturn’s nucleus. These droplets produce friction and then heat as they fall through lighter hydrogen.


Saturn’s outer atmosphere consists of molecular hydrogen with 96.3% and helium at 3.25%. There are also small amounts of ammonia, acetylene, ethane, methane, and phosphine. Saturn’s upper clouds consist of ammonia crystals, while low-altitude clouds appear to consist of ammonium bicarbonate (NH 4 SH) or water. There is also a small proportion of helium, compared to that of the sun, in the atmosphere of this planet.

The heavier element of helium in the atmosphere of Saturn is not specifically known, but its proportions are assumed to compare its existence during the formation of the solar system. The total mass of these elements is between 19 and 31 times the mass of the Earth, and a large part of it is found in the nucleus of Saturn.

Cloud Layers

The Saturn casing is similar to that of the buyer, but is more relaxed (in terms of brightness) and wider at the equator.

The lowest layers of clouds Saturn’s rise is a layer of water ice, which extends for 10 km and has a temperature of -23 C. It is likely that above this layer there is a layer of ammonium bicarbonate ice, which extends to a height of 50 km and has a temperature of about -93 ° C.

Another layer extends 80 kilometers above this layer and is made up of ammonia ice, with a temperature of about -153 C. Near the top of the atmosphere, stretches of hydrogen and helium extend up to 200 to 270 kilometers above the visible ammonia clouds. Saturn’s wind is the fastest in the solar system.

The Voyager probe detected the maximum wind speed of 500 m / s, equivalent to 1,800 km / h. The clouds were not detected or detected in the Voyager flight, and since then the land approaches have improved significantly so that Scientists are able to watch them. The withdrawal of the upper atmosphere around the equator completes a cycle around the planet every 10 hours and 10 minutes, a short time. Clouds in the upper latitudes may take up to half an hour longer to pass across the planet.

The 1990 Hubble Space Telescope observed a huge white cloud in a Saturnian atmosphere near its equator, which was not observed during Voyager’s voyage. The telescope also observed a smaller storm in 1994. The storm of 1990 was an example of the great white spot, a rare and short-lived phenomenon that occurs once a year in a dizzying period, a period of approximately 29.5 Earth years. This spot was spotted in 1876, 1903, 1933, and 1960, and the spot of 1933 is the most famous among them. If the frequency continues, another spot will appear in 2020.

The northern half of Saturn appeared in the modern images of Cassini in a brilliant blue color similar to Uranus. This blue color cannot be detected from the planet because Saturn’s northern half rings are obscured by a scattering phenomenon.

Recently discovered astronomers using infrared that Saturn has warm polar swirls, this phenomenon is only known on the planet Saturn so far. While the temperature on Saturn is usually -185 Celsius, it reaches in these vortices to -222 degrees Celsius.

Great white spot

It is named after the great red spot on Jupiter’s surface. A name called periodic storms that occur on the surface of Saturn and can be seen by ground approaches and is characterized by white. The storm can spread over hundreds of kilometers. All the great white spots occur in the northern half of Saturn, beginning with separate patches that rapidly spread along the meridians as in 1933 and 1990 where the last storm was large enough to encircle the planet. Some theories suggest that the cause of white spots is the rise of large amounts of the atmosphere due to thermal instability.

The pattern of the hexagonal-shaped Arctic pull

The hexagonal shape of the clouds present in the Arctic atmosphere was observed at about 78 nm for the first time by Voyager probe images. Unlike the Arctic, images of the Hubble Space Observatory indicated jet currents in the Antarctic from the planet, but there are no strong polar vortices nor any hexagonal permanent wave.

Despite the above, NASA reported in November 2006 that the Cassini spacecraft had detected some hurricanes in the Antarctic, which have what is known as the “eye of the hurricane”, a large ring of huge thunderstorms. This observation is noteworthy because no eye of a hurricane was seen on any planet other than Earth (and there had been a failed attempt to observe this phenomenon in the Great Red Spot on Jupiter).

The lateral ribs of the hexagonal Arctic pull are about 13,800 km long, and the entire region rotates around itself within 10 hours, 39 minutes and 24 seconds. It is the same period of wireless waves from the planet.

Magnetic field

The magnetic envelope of Saturn is very regular, due to the occurrence of magnetic poles on one line with the poles of rotation.

The solar wind presses the side of the sun-facing field and stretches the side that is blocked from the wind.

The rapid rotation of the planet around its axis causes the formation of a disk of currents at the level of the equator, which in turn affects the magnetic field and the more distant sections of the magnetic envelope. Thus, Saturn has a simple magnetic field and a bipolar symmetry. It is strong at the equator, with a magnitude of about 0.2 Gauss, roughly one to twenty times the magnetic field around the Jupiter, and slightly below the magnetic field around the Earth.

As a result, Saturn’s magnetic field is much smaller than that of Jupiter and extends only slightly behind Titan’s orbit.

It is possible that the cause of the formation of the magnetic field in Saturn is similar to the cause arising in Jupiter because of the molecular hydrogen layer.

This magnetic envelope acts on the solar wind. The planet’s magnetic field is characterized by the existence of two northern and southern poles, but it reflects the earth in their positions. The earth compass points toward the southern planet of Saturn, indicating the magnetic north of the planet, that is, the magnetic north is the geographical south, with its magnetism opposite its actual poles. This field is exactly identical to the planet’s axis of rotation, while on Earth it tilts at a rate of 10 on the Earth’s axis.

There are a regular magnetosphere and an ionized layer of hydrogen atoms around the planet. Scientists have identified that the reason for this weakness in comparison with the buyer is due to the lack of thickness of the mineral liquid layer of hydrogen in respect to those of the buyer.

Orbit and spin Saturn

The average distance between Saturn and the Sun is more than 1,400,000,000 km, with an average orbital velocity of 9.69 km / s. Saturn takes the time from 10,759 Earth days (29 years and a half) to finish one cycle around the Sun. Its elliptical orbit tilts at an angle of 2.48 ° for the orbital plane. Because of an orbital anomaly of 0.056, the distance between Saturn and the Sun varies by approximately 155,000,000 kilometers between the perigee and the apogee.

Since the planet, Saturn is a gas giant, the time it takes to rotate around its axis is not fixed but depends on the latitude. The visible objects on Saturn rotate at different rates depending on the latitude on which they fall,

Multiple rotation periods have been calculated for different regions on the planet (as in the case of the buyer):

The first system is 10 hours, 14 minutes and 00 seconds (844.3 ° / d), and includes the equatorial region, which extends from the northern edge of the southern equatorial belt to the southern tip of the Northern Tropical Belt.

The second system is where all other latitudes of Saturn are set in a 10-hour, 39-minute and 24-second rotation period (810.76 ° / d).

The third system is based on the emission of radio waves from the planet observed by the Voyager-Aznar vehicle approaches, and the duration of this system is 10 hours and 39 minutes and 22.4 seconds (810.8 ° / d)

Because it is very close to the Second Order, it has been largely replaced. However, the exact value of the orbital period of the Earth’s soles remains puzzling.

As Cassini approached Saturn in 2004, the spacecraft found that the period of Saturn’s radio rotation had increased significantly, reaching 10 hours, 45 minutes and 45 seconds (± 36 seconds). The reason for this change is not known, and I think at the time that the reason was due to the movement of the wireless source to a different orbital line, that is, it changed in rotational duration and not in the rotation of Saturn itself.

Later in March 2007, it was found that the rotation of radio emissions was not affected by the rotation of the planet, but instead resulted from the thermal convection of the plasma disk, which also depends on other factors besides the rotation of the planet. It was reported that the variation in rotation periods may be due to the activity of the heaters on Saturn’s Enceladus satellite.

The water vapor emitted into Saturn’s orbit through this activity affects Saturn’s magnetic casing and makes it weaker, which slows down slightly for the rotation of the planet. Currently, it is recognized that there is no known method for determining Saturn solubility.

The latest estimates for Saturn’s rotation period were in September 2007 and were based on information from a variety of measurements of Cassini, Voyager and Pioneer probes, and this estimate is 10 hours, 32 minutes and 35 seconds.

Saturn rings

Saturn may be the most famous planet of its ring system, making it the most visible space object in the solar system.

The rings of Saturn make it one of the most astounding and dazzling astronomical images, in addition to the abundance of stories in science fiction films.

Galileo Galilei first spotted him through the telescope when he first directed his telescope to the planet in 1610, but his low-resolution vision mistakenly thought Saturn was a three-system planet, consisting of a large central body and smaller bodies on either side.

The rings are much newer than the planet itself. So some senior mathematicians saw these episodes as worth studying. According to the calculations of Laplace and James Clark Maxwell, Saturn rings must consist of many smaller objects.

The rings range from 6,630 km to 120,700 km above Saturn’s equator, with an average thickness of about 20 km. However, the total mass of the rings, up to several hundred meters in diameter, is only equivalent to the mass of Mimas and is 93% water ice with little Impurities, as well as 7% non-crystallized carbon. The particles forming rings vary in size from the size of the dust atoms to a small car.

There are three major theories related to the origin of the rings:

the first is that they are caused by the material about the planet’s initial disk, which was below the planet’s limit and as a result did not form and form moons.

As for the second, the debris of a crumbling satellite resulted in a collision.

According to the third result of the debris of a moon fragmented by the change of stresses that resulted in the passage of the moon within the Roch of the planet, it was thought that the rings of the rings are unstable rings.

Outside the main rings at a distance of 12 million kilometers from the planet, there is a loop of Phoebe, which is tilted 27 degrees from other rings.

Astronomers divided the system into seven rings, namely A, B, C, D, A, B, C, D, E, F, G ), And there is a Cassini barrier between rings A and B, and there are gaps, including the Maxwell gap and the Keller gap and the Inky gap.

The rings of Saturn and its moons affect its magnetic field, where it is believed that this effect has a role in the formation of rings. As Titan moves through the magnetosphere, hydrogen and other light elements in its relatively dense atmosphere escape. The magnetic field forms a small cake of charged particles extracted from the icy surfaces of the inner small moons to form another light ring around the orbital complex.

Saturn moons

Saturn has at least 60 natural satellites, 48 of which have names. Many of these satellites are very small. There are between 33 to 50 satellites with a diameter of fewer than 10 kilometers and 13 satellites with a diameter of fewer than 50 kilometers.

There are seven satellites large enough to be close to the shape of the ball under the influence of their own attractiveness, and these satellites are Titan, Ria, Iabitos, Dion, Teeth, Enceladus, and Mimas.

Titan is the largest satellite, its diameter exceeds the planet’s planet Mercury, which is the only moon in the solar system that has a thick atmosphere.

The second largest satellite, RIA, also has its own ring system.

There are also some small objects going through the rings of Saturn, where astrological observations are still uncertain as to whether they are moons or attacks from the glowing dust around the planet, and they still carry some temporary appointments currently such as S / 2009 S 1, From being satellites, the International Astronomical Union will adopt names for them.

The earliest Titan images were taken in January 2004 and December 2005 by the Cassini-Huygens probe, and eventually part of the probe – the part known as the Huygens (European design) – was disembarked on a Titan surface.

Saturn’s smaller satellites appear as dwarfs for Titan, where density measurements show that all satellites are rich in ice, most water ice and perhaps some ammonia.

Many satellites have abnormal phenomena. Hyperion is the only object in the solar system with the Hawashi orbit. There may be volcanoes in Enceladus.

Ria is also filled with nozzles, yet its brightest regions may be the result of recent glacial formations.

The Moabites have icy features and mountains as well.

Tethers is filled with nozzles, with the Ithaca Kazuma trench, a trench 100 kilometers wide and four to five kilometers deep, extending from pole to pole.

Mimas is characterized by the 10-kilometer-long Herschel crater, 130 kilometers in diameter and one-third the size of the moon.

Watching Saturn

Saturn is the planet farthest from the sun among the five planets easily visible by the naked eye of Earth. The other four planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Sometimes Uranus can be seen with the naked eye in a very dark sky, in addition to the asteroid 4 Vista.

The last known planets of early astronomers until Uranus was discovered in 1781.

Saturn appears to the naked eye in the night sky as a bright yellow spot and usually has a visible magnitude of +1 to 0, and this value reaches a maximum brightness of -0.24. Saturn takes about 29 years and a half to complete a cycle around the sun.

Most people need light aids (large binoculars) magnified by at least 20 × to clearly see Saturn rings.

The clearest vision of Saturn and its rings when the angle between him and the sun 180 degrees and thus shows the opposite of the sun in the sky.

Historical monitoring of Saturn

The history of the observation and exploration of Saturn is divided into three main phases:

The first of these is the ancient observances, which were limited to simple instruments (mainly the naked eye) and were before the invention of telescopes.

The second phase was the use of telescopes when invented early seventeenth century and began to develop and improve.

The final stage was to visit the planet’s spacecraft, either by entering orbit or hovering over it with space probes.

Saturn has been known since ancient historical times, and the Italian physicist Galileo Galilei, one of the first who spotted the telescope in 1610.

The initial observations of Saturn were a bit difficult because the Earth passes through the rings of Saturn in some years when it moves in orbit. Because of this, it produces a low-resolution image of Saturn.

In 1659, the scientist Christian Huygens discovered a ring that he described as “a ring that is not adjacent to the planet and is devoid of orbit.” Since then Saturn has been known as the only planet surrounded by rings until 1977 when it found thin rings around the planet Uranus and shortly afterward Jupiter and Neptune.

In 1675, the French astronomer Giovanni Cassini discovered that the ring that Huygens saw was divided into two equal parts with two equal lines in a dark line. This line is now called the Cassini barrier.

In 1850 a new ring was discovered close to the planet than its predecessor and darker.

Cassini also discovered four moons of Saturn between 1671 and 1684: Ria, Thetis, Deion, and Iapetus.

In 1979, French astronomers discovered another new ring, more distant than Saturn.

The Pioneer 11 was used on the first visit to Saturn in 1979, and then the Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Cassini-Huygens were used in 2004.

Space trips to Saturn

Pioneer 11

The first visit to Saturn was carried out by the Pioneer 11 probe in September of 1979, flying at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers from the upper clouds of the planet.

The accuracy of the planet and some of its moons were taken. The accuracy of the images was not high enough to determine the surface parameters well.

The probe also studied the rings. This led to a few discoveries, including a thin loop called a loop-F, and dark gaps between the rings that light up when they appear in the direction of the sun. The probe also measured the temperature of the largest Saturn moons known as Titan.

Voyager 1

Voyager 1 visited the planet Saturn in November 1980 and succeeded in transmitting the first high-resolution images of the planet, rings, and some satellites, and was able to take pictures of the topography of many satellites for the first time.

He also flew close to Titan, which led to a great increase in astronomers’ knowledge of the atmosphere of the moon.

It also proved that the visible wavelengths of the spectrum could not reach Titan’s atmosphere, so they could not see or recognize any topography on that moon’s surface.

In August 1981, Voyager 2 continued studying the Saturn system.

More close-up images of Saturn’s moons were found, and signs of changes in the atmosphere and rings were found.

Unfortunately, the camera adapter crashed into the probe during the flight and stopped for a few days, thus losing some images that the scientists planned to get.

Saturn’s gravity was later used to direct the orbit of the spacecraft towards Uranus.

This probe was able to detect and confirm the presence of many new satellites next to or within the rings. He also discovered the Maxwell gap and the Keller gap.

Cassini-Huygens spacecraft

The success of the Voyager mission contributed to the launch of the Cassini-Huygens probe. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft formed the largest spacecraft ever built, carrying a Cassini probe with 12 scientific instruments and carrying the Huygens probe on six scientific instruments. When the vehicle is full, the weight of the vehicle reaches 5,500 kg and its height is 6.8 meters.

In October 1997, the Cassini spacecraft left the planet on a journey to the outer solar system. It successfully maneuvered and entered orbit around Saturn in July 2004 after the vehicle used its main engine for 95 minutes for prevention from the risk of being attracted to the surface of the planet.

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft studied the Saturn system extensively, flew close to the Moon and sent high-resolution images and data.

The scientists responsible for the trip also uncovered an initial map of Saturn’s magnetic field by measurements and observations by the Cassini spacecraft’s magnetic field camera, which they captured during a flight near the planet.

The map shows that Saturn’s magnetic field extends from seven hundred thousand to one million miles away.

It also flew over Saturn’s largest moon, monitored by radar and obtained radar images of beaches, islands, mountains and even lakes.

On 25 December 2004, the Huygens probe was intercepted and landed on the surface of Titan on 14 January 2005, sending a huge amount of data as it descended from Titan’s atmosphere and surface.

During 2005, Cassini carried several overflights over Titan and some of Saturn’s other satellites, and the last flight over Titan was on March 23, 2008.

The images clearly show that there are zigzag channels for the corridors of fluid destined for valleys. This is likely to be methane, as the images also show some polished rocks, very similar to rocks in river water, and in some images, there is a haze of methane or ethane. Since early 2005, scientists have followed lightning on a Saturn planet monitored by Cassini. It is said that lightning power was more than 1000 times the power of lightning on the planet.

Scientists believe that the storm associated with it is the strongest of its kind at all.

NASA reported on March 10, 2006, that through the images taken by Cassini, there was evidence that there were quantities of liquid water being emitted by the Includes on the moon. The images also showed water molecules released by icy jets forming high-rise columns.

According to Andrew Ingersoll, a doctor at the California Institute of Technology, other moons in the solar system are covered by oceans of liquid water covered with a glacier of ice, but the difference here is that pockets of liquid water can be just a few dozen meters below the surface.

On September 20, 2006, Cassini’s images revealed an undiscovered ring of the planet, located outside the most glowing main rings, and in rings J and C. It appears that this episode was found as a result of the crash of two Saturn moons because of the continuous impact of meteorites.

In July 2006, Cassini sent the first photos of hydrocarbon lakes near Titan’s the North Pole, confirmed by scientists in January 2007. In March of the same year, additional images were taken of areas near the pole North of Titan led to the discovery of hydrochloric seas, and the largest of these seas is almost the size of the Caspian Sea.

The probe discovered eight natural moons of Saturn from 2004 to November 2, 2009. Cassini’s mission ended in 2008 when he completed 74 cycles around the planet. And is now exploring the extension of his first mission.

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