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Lightning Captured on Saturn

  • Extraett
  • uploaded: Feb 20, 2014
  • Hits: 52

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Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Named after the Roman god of agriculture, its astronomical symbol () represents the god's sickle. 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 more '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. The planet exhibits a pale yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. Electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is weaker than Earth's magnetic field but has a magnetic moment 580 times that of the Earth due to Saturn's larger body radius. Saturn's magnetic field strength is 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), faster than on Jupiter, but not as fast as those on has a prominent ring system that consists of nine continuous main rings and three discontinuous arcs, composed mostly of ice particles with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. Sixty-two known moons orbit the planet; fifty-three are officially named. This does not include the hundreds of "moonlets" comprising the rings. Titan, Saturn's largest and the Solar System's second largest moon, is larger than the planet Mercury and is the only moon in the Solar System to retain a substantial characteristicsSaturn is classified as a gas giant because the exterior is predominantly composed of gas and it lacks a definite surface, although it may have a solid core. The rotation of the planet causes it to take the shape of an oblate spheroid; that is, it is flattened at the poles and bulges at the equator. Its equatorial and polar radii differ by almost 10%: 60,268 km versus 54,364 km, respectively. Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, the other gas giants in the Solar System, are also oblate but to a lesser extent. Saturn is the only planet of the Solar System that is less dense than waterabout 30% less. Although Saturn's core is considerably denser than water, the average specific density of the planet is g/cm3 due to the gaseous atmosphere. Jupiter has 318 times the Earth's mass, while Saturn is 95 times the mass of the Earth, Together, Jupiter and Saturn hold 92% of the total planetary mass in the Solar Credit:NASAPublic Domian



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