Rotation period as fast as Jupiter, as well as differential rotation rates at
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Rotation period as fast as Jupiter, as well as differential rotation rates at poles and equator. Saturn. Second largest planet – with rings Atmosphere composition similar to Jupiter, but less metallic H2 Density ~ 0.69 g/cc (could float on water!) Twice as far from the Sun as Jupiter

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Saturn l.jpg

Saturn rotation rates at

Second largest planet – with rings

Atmosphere composition similar to Jupiter, but less metallic H2

Density ~ 0.69 g/cc (could float on water!)

Twice as far from the Sun as Jupiter

Surface Temp = 95 K

Deep clouds, strong winds (1700 Km/hr)

Intrinsic magnetic field is 1000 x Earth’s (but because of its size it is only 70% of Earth’s just outside the atmosphere)


Rings of saturn highly structured and stable formations l.jpg
Rings of Saturn: rotation rates at Highly structured and stable formations

Polar caps are illuminated due to electrical activity at the two magnetic poles



Distances of rings how many l.jpg
Distances of Rings rotation rates at (How many?)

2.5 times

radius

of planet

The Ring systems lie within about 2.5 x Saturn’s radius. i.e. within Roche limit


Rings and gaps thousands of rings interspersed with gaps l.jpg
Rings and Gaps: Thousands of rings interspersed with gaps rotation rates at

Voyager view: Before that there were thought to be only a few



Rings and moons l.jpg
Rings and Moons rotation rates at

  • What are the rings made up of ?

  • What keeps the rings stable and in orbit ?

  • Saturn has 18 moons, more than any other planet (Titan is most interesting !)

  • All Jovian planets are now known to have rings

  • Saturn’s rings are most shiny: made of icy rocks, in independent Keplerian orbits, above the equator


Composition of rings l.jpg
Composition of Rings rotation rates at

  • Dirty, icy, snowballs from about 1/1000 of an inch (dust particles) to 10 yards; most about a foot

  • Origin: (i) breakup of satellite(s), (ii) incomplete formation (a la asteroid belt !)

  • Orbits are stable and particles do not collide

  • Rings are stable due to gravitational interaction with small Shepherding Moons that lie among the ring structures


The roche limit l.jpg
The Roche Limit rotation rates at

  • Gravitational stability limit, out to about 2.5 times the radius of the planet

  • Any object without intrinsic gravity (such as a pile of gravel) will break up inside the Roche limit due to tidal effects; a moon with sufficient mass and under its own gravity need not break up

  • All rings, and small shepherding moons, lie within the Roche limit; larger moons are outside



Moons and rings shepherding moons within rings l.jpg
Moons and rings: rotation rates at Shepherding moons within rings


Shepherding moons and a ring l.jpg
Shepherding moons and a ring rotation rates at

Ring particles in ‘orbital resonance’ with the moons are ejected due to periodic

gravitational interaction, i.e. only particles whose periods are NOT multiples

of moon’s orbital periods survive in the rings


Saturn s moon titan l.jpg
Saturn’s moon TITAN rotation rates at

  • Titan is one of several large moons beyond the Roche limit

  • Titan is most interesting, about 1.5 times the size of Earth’s moon and a density of 1.9 g/cc

  • Second largest moon in the solar system



Infrared heat map of titan l.jpg
Infrared (heat) map of Titan rotation rates at

Infrared reflectivity indicates composition of atmosphere


Atmosphere of titan l.jpg
Atmosphere of Titan rotation rates at

  • Mostly nitrogen (80%), argon, methane (CH4)

  • Pressure: 1.6 x Earth’s atmosphere

  • Surface Temperature: -300 F (95 K)

  • CH4 and C2H6 (ethane) oceans,

    (half-mile deep) clouds, rain, ice, snow

  • Orangish color due to smog

  • Oxygen locked in ice


Titan and origin of life l.jpg
Titan and Origin of Life ? rotation rates at

  • Many organic, hydrocarbon compounds HCN, C3H8, etc.

  • Present conditions similar to primordial conditions on Earth in the first billion years

  • Slow evolution because of cold

  • NASA probe Cassini is now studying Titan

  • Terraforming Titan!! Heat up to release Oxygen, which would covert methane to CO2 (like Mars): CH4 + O2  CO2 + 2H; plant life to follow


Cassini l.jpg
CASSINI rotation rates at


Enceladus water l.jpg
Enceladus – Water ! rotation rates at



Data on saturn moons l.jpg
Data on Saturn Moons rotation rates at


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