Questions tagged [saturn]

Questions about Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun.

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35
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1answer
4k views

How large can a ball of water be without fusion starting?

How large can a ball of water be without fusion starting? Peculiar question: some explanation might be necessary. My young son is into ‘space’ and astronomy. One of his posters says that Saturn could ...
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How dense are Saturn's rings?

I assume that the A ring is the densest, but I might be wrong. Nevertheless, I failed to find any explicit information over the net about the minimum and maximum of densities for the different rings. ...
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Help understanding this unsettling image of Titan, Epimetheus, and Saturn's rings?

The NY Times article Saturn’s Rings Are Sculpted by a Crew of Mini-Moons is really interesting and links to the recent paywalled paper in Science Close Cassini flybys of Saturn’s ring moons Pan, ...
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Why do some planets have rings?

Some planets, specifically Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in our solar system, have planetary rings. Why do some planets have rings? How are they made and from what? Most importantly, will I ...
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How long do planetary rings last?

I'm surprised that this question hasn't been asked before (here or on Physics), to the best of my knowledge. It's one that I might have asked when I was a bit younger, and one that I think other ...
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Will Saturn's rings become a moon?

Planets form from disks of matter orbiting around a star; some moons form from disks of matter orbiting planets. If this were going to happen around Saturn, approximately how much time would it take?
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How did Arecibo detect methane lakes on Titan, and image Saturn's rings?

This answer to Farthest distance to a solar system object that's been measured by radar? mentions that Saturn's rings, and the Uncover Travel post Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico – The World’s ...
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1answer
103 views

Why does Saturn have a more prominent equatorial bulge and higher flattening ratio than Jupiter despite rotating slower?

It is my understanding that a planet's equatorial bulge is caused by the centrifugal force produced by its rotation, and the faster a planet rotates the bigger the bulge and flattening ratio of a ...
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674 views

Why is Enceladus the only geologically active moon among its neighbours?

My understanding of why Enceladus is geologically active is that tidal forces from Saturn and - to a lesser extent - from the nearby larger moon Dione provide heat to the moon's interior, just like ...
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Why does the planet Saturn have numerous (62) moons compared to the rest of the planets in the Solar System?

Saturn is a gas giant like Jupiter. It has everything from tiny moonlets less than 1 kilometer across to the enormous Titan, which is larger than the planet Mercury. Saturn has 62 moons with ...
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243 views

How are the newly discovered Janus/Epimetheus rings different from the other rings of Saturn?

What are the newly discovered ring systems of Saturn, and the circumstances relating to the discovery? Is there something that makes them different from the old well-known rings, like their formation? ...
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Which Saturn satellite passes closest to Saturn's rings and at what distance?

I was using Stellarium to watch Saturn from its moon Pan and I saw the rings were very close to this moon. Now Saturn's rings extend for a large distance so several moons see them from close. I was ...
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Why is Enceladus's albedo greater than 1?

Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, has a geometric albedo of 1.38 and a bond albedo of 0.81. How can the geometric albedo of Enceladus be greater than one? What are the similarities or differences ...
9
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680 views

“If earth had rings like Saturn”: A few further thoughts on the consequences

I came across this video recently where artists depicted what it would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn. http://www.wimp.com/earthrings/ Please note: The video contains already some ...
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How unusual is the solar system?

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, the main characters are looking for the long-lost Earth. There are two major features of the solar system that seem to make it unusual among the millions of ...
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Why are Saturn bands much fainter than Jupiter's?

The atmospheric composition of both planets are very similar. Then why are Jupiter's bands more visible (North and South equatorial belt, etc.): Whilst Saturn's are not: (except for the storm of ...
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539 views

Why does Saturn have both moons and rings?

From my understanding, a ring can form around a planet when a moon gets too close to its Roche limit, and gets ripped appart by the planet's gravity pull. That makes sense to me, but I don't ...
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Are there other pictures of Titan surface from Huygens?

I can't find any other picture of the Titan surface from the Huygens probe than this one Are there any? Are they not disclosed on purpose? If this is the only one taken, why? Titan surface http://i....
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Trying to understand the way Saturn's ring look in this famous Cassini image

You all probably know the famous The day the Earth Smiled image. For the life of me I can't understand what's going on with the rings there. Seems like the "bottom" half of the rings is the half that ...
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2answers
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Selecting a Telescope for Viewing Planets

I hope to observe planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and moons. I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and I know images in magazines are not taken with at least 12-inch telescope in a middle of ...
8
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1answer
268 views

What's special about Saturn that it has distinctive rings?

This may overlap with other questions, but I'm asking what is unique about Saturn in location, properties, etc that is has far more pronounced rings? It's between Jupiter and Uranus and Neptune in ...
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Exactly what in Saturn has been located to within 4 km precision?

Saturn has been located with fantastic precision thanks to Cassini and VLBI. The location of the 120,000 km diameter giant planet (when defining the 1 bar pressure level as its surface) is known to ...
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Hypothetically, would we be able to see the moon from Saturn's North Pole?

Hypothetically speaking, if Saturn had a solid surface that we could stand on, would we be able to see our Moon from the North Pole of Saturn? Would the rings of Saturn obstruct the view?
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Size of Saturn's ring material

How big are the chunks of rock ice that make up Saturn's rings? Are there many objects larger than pebble size?
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Wouldn't the rings of Saturn experience tidal effect?

The "Lord of the Rings" has more than 60 moons, some of which are larger than Mercury. My question is, wouldn't the ring, which is mostly comprised of rocks, experience tidal effect whenever a moon is ...
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What are the periods of Saturn's rings?

I don't mean necessarily a granular chart of all of the different rings at different distances, but is it days? Weeks?
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Aren't there any rock or similar firm material on/in the gas giant planets?

Aren't there any rock or similar firm material on/in the gas giant planets? What happens if a rock asteroid hits one of these planets? Shouldn't the rock accumulate in the center of the planet due to ...
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Semimajor axis variations in co-orbital moons

I've been playing with simulations of co-orbital bodies similar to Saturn's moons Janus & Epimetheus- horseshoe orbits where the two bodies are of comparable mass- and I'm seeing some very odd ...
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801 views

How is a day measured on a gas giant?

After watching this JPL video of a Cassini time lapse of Saturn, I wondered since being mostly gases, how do we know how long a day—one rotation period—is? Is there a usable relation between how fast ...
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1answer
688 views

How to see Saturn's rings through a pair of binoculars?

I have a pair of 15x70 binoculars. I would not say what manufacturer to avoid being the subject of 'hold'. The current angular diameter is 15.5 arcseconds. I am wondering if that condition is enough ...
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Does Saturn raise tides on Titan's lakes?

Titan is the only body in the Solar System other than Earth to have large bodies of surface liquid. Since Saturn is much more massive than the Moon, I would expect for tides, if they're present to ...
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Minimum telescope needed to see the rings of the Saturn

I am a total novice. My daughter, likes Saturn. Since Saturn is so close I thought it was a good time to view it with her. What are the minimum needed telescope specs? Update: Can answer answers be ...
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1answer
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Refraction by Saturn's atmosphere - how dense is it here?

This tweet from CassiniSaturn shows an image of Saturn's rings being optically distorted by the dense atmosphere. It is explained more fully on this page and is available here. The refraction is ...
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How bright would it be on the “face” of Titan

If you were planing a maned mission to Titan and wanted to find a landing site that would get the most visible light for the longest amount of time, your first logical choice would be the dark side of ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to see Saturn from Titan's surface, day and night?

Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a thick atmosphere, similar to what our Earth's atmosphere was before life "appeared". It also orbits Saturn close enough to actually see it beautifully ...
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Is it possible for a septuple eclipse to happen on Saturn considering there are 7 moons capable of eclipsing the Sun?

The reason quadruple eclipses can never happen on Jupiter is because of the 1:2:4 orbital resonance between Io, Europa, and Ganymede. As far as I know this isn't a problem for Saturn's moons. From ...
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Will Saturn's Moons be destroyed?

I heard that Saturn has 62 moons with confirmed orbits, 53 of which have names and only 13 of which have diameters larger than 50 kilometers. Some come within 1km of each other. How do these moons ...
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271 views

What is the Northernmost Latitude of Saturn?

My wife and I were watching a TV show last night, which takes place in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1693. One character went to a particular place in the woods at a particular time to be exactly under ...
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229 views

Why is Saturn invisible in this radar image of its rings?

The image below is from Radar imaging of Saturn’s rings Nicholson, P. D. et al., Icarus 177 (2005) 32–62, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2005.03.023 and discussed further in this answer to How did Arecibo ...
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How would humans with appropriate equipment navigate the surface of Saturn's moon Titan on foot? [closed]

Taking into account the physical characteristics of Titan (e.g. surface gravity, atmospheric pressure), what would be the most efficient method of motion for an astronaut to navigate the surface of ...
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257 views

Venus-Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius on Dec 11, 2019 - How often does this happen?

Venus and Saturn will be approximately two finger widths apart in the constellation Sagittarius on December 11, 2019. I was wondering: how often do Venus and Saturn come together in the sky like this? ...
3
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1answer
203 views

Are the radial spokes in Saturn's rings reliably visible via ground-based telescopes

In the mid 1970's, Franklin and O'Meara saw persistent "radial spoke-like features" in the rings of Saturn, that should not have existed due to the differential rotation of the rings. A publication ...
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1answer
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Is there, in fact, any close-up photography of Saturn's rings, showing individual pebbles/rocks?

After reading this excellent but difficult answer, https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/18407/13071 I've been thinking how difficult it is to get a sense of the distance between and the size of ...
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1answer
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Was there ever a Jupiter transit or Saturn transit?

I've watched the Venus transit 2004 with a small telescope, a relatively rare event, considering most people can only observe two in their life time. If E.T. were sitting in a sunny place on a moon ...
3
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1answer
407 views

Why are saturn rings so thin?

I wonder why saturn rings are so thin ? Rings A, B and C are approximately just 10 meters thick which is extremely thin compared to the size of Saturn. What are the explanations for that ? Thanks a ...
3
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1answer
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How do they measure sub-centimeter wave height on a moon of Saturn?

Michael Stevens from V-Sauce has a video called The Mandelbrot Set on a different channel. At 12:56 he says: There’s a moon of Saturn that has liquid hydrocarbon ...
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The colour of saturn as it appears to the naked eye

I have started to watch the skies in order to learn stars, constellations planets etc. The few references I checked state that Saturn presents itself to the naked eye as a pale yellow tiny little ball,...
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1answer
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Am I using my Celestron 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope correctly?

I became interested in astronomy a few years ago and started with a Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ refractor telescope. That seemed nice, and I wanted to upgrade to a go-to telescope that was also more ...
2
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1answer
93 views

Are there known centaurs which orbit between Jupiter and Saturn without crossing their orbits?

According to Centaur minor planet Centaurs are small Solar System bodies with a semi-major axis between those of the outer planets. They generally have unstable orbits because they cross or have ...
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1answer
658 views

Is it possible that Titan is a kuiper object captured by Saturn?

I think Titan may be just captured by Saturn, not formed with Saturn together, because: It has so much nitrogen and methane, which is similar to Pluto and Triton Except Titan, other moons of Saturn ...