Saturn - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 5 pages of information about Saturn.
This section contains 1,357 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Saturn Encyclopedia Article

Physical and Orbital Properties

One of four gas giant outer planets (along with Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune), Saturn is the second most massive planet in the solar system. It has a mass equivalent to 95.159 times Earth's and possesses an atmosphere composed primarily of the gases hydrogen and helium (by mass, comprising approximately 78 percent and 22 percent of the atmosphere, respectively).

It is the trace elements and their compounds that give the planet its golden color and the faint banded structure of the cloud tops in its lower-most stratosphere. Methane, ethane, other carbon compounds, and ammonia are observed in the atmosphere. Winds can exceed 450 meters per second (1,000 miles per hour). There is no solid surface beneath the clouds. With depth, the atmosphere slowly thickens from gas to liquid. At very great depths, liquid hydrogen may be compressed enough to become metallic. Saturn has a molten core of heavy elements including nickel...

(read more)

This section contains 1,357 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Saturn Encyclopedia Article
Copyrights
Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences
Saturn from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook