Facts About Saturn: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

Of all the planets in our solar system, most people agree that Saturn is the most beautiful. With its mysterious rings and enchanting colors, Saturn is a magnificent planet to look at. In this lesson, you will learn the basic facts about the fascinating sixth planet we call Saturn.

Saturn Basics

Named after the god of agriculture, Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and the sixth planet from the sun. It is 95 times the mass of the Earth and could fit 763 Earths inside of it. Unlike the rocky, inner planets, Saturn is a gas giant. Gas giants are planets that are composed of various gases, like helium and hydrogen, with a tiny, rocky core. Saturn is very far from the sun. It orbits about 856 million miles away from our star and almost 800 million miles from Earth.

Have you ever felt like the school year would never end? Well, it takes Saturn 29.5 years to orbit the sun so your school year would actually last for 24 years. But while a Saturn year is very long, each day is much shorter. A complete rotation on Saturn's axis takes only 10 hours.

The Earth compared to Saturn
Earth Compared to Saturn

Rings and Moons

Saturn is surrounded by three main rings, which are made of ice. Even though they look solid from a telescope, they are actually made of tiny pieces of ice. The rings were first discovered by the astronomer Galileo in 1610. There are more rings than three, but it took the spacecraft, US Voyager, in the 1980s to see the smaller, inner rings. The three main rings were named Ring A, B and C. Not so creative.

Even though the rings look huge, they are very thin. They measure less than a kilometer (just over half a mile) thick. They are very wide though, stretching about 170,000 miles across. Orbiting Saturn are 53 named moons and 9 unnamed moons. The largest moon is called Titan, and it's the second largest moon in the solar system. It's so big that it's actually larger than the planet Mercury. Titan is a unique moon because it has its own atmosphere.

A close-up of Saturns rings.
Saturn Rings

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