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Solar System Scratchpad

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Solar System Planets

Fifth planet from the Sun. The smaller of the two hydrogen/helium gas giants in the Solar System. Has large, bright, and complex ring system, which is visible in small telescopes. Has light tan banded surface, with occasional giant white storms, as well as a permanent octagon storm at the poles. Fastest spinning planet. Has one very large satellite, several smaller round ones, and dozens of irregular ones. Visited by Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft. Currently orbited by Cassini probe.

Satellites of Saturn[]

  • See Saturnian System for All Satellites
  • Mimas - Innermost large moon of Saturn. Has a distinct large crater that gives the moon the nickname the "Deathstar Moon".
  • Enceladus - Second large moon of Saturn. The brightest and smoothest known body in the solar system. Has active ice geysers that feed Saturn's rings and enter its atmosphere (making it the only Moon to affect its parent's composition) and neighboring moons.
  • Tethys - Large moon of Saturn. May have had an ancient subsurface ocean which froze out when interaction with Dione subsided. Ithaca Chasma may have resulted with this freeze.
  • Dione - Large moon of Saturn. Interacts with Enceladus today (flexes it to maintain liquid ocean) and may have helped Tethys in the past maintain a liquid ocean.
  • Rhea - Second largest moon of Saturn. A cratered icy world almost 1000 miles across. Has a tenuous oxygen-rich atmosphere created by charged particles from Saturn's magnetic field striking and splitting apart water molecules.
  • Titan - Largest moon of Saturn and the only known moon to have a thick atmosphere. Only body known to have bodies of liquids on its surface other than the Earth, which are composed of hydrocarbons. Landed on by the Huygens probe and mapped by the Cassini orbiter.
  • Hyperion - Large irregular moon of Saturn. Sponge shaped. Spins on two axises. First irregular satellite discovered. Extremely low density and porous, may host a network of caverns within.
  • Iapetus - Outermost large moon of Saturn, only spherical one in an eccentric, inclined orbit. Has two different "faces", one very bright and the other very dark. Has mountain range across its equator which significantly distorts its spherical shape.
  • Phoebe - Outermost relatively large moon of Saturn. A dark large irregular moon, thought to be a planetesimal from the Kuiper Belt. It was likely spherical in its past, is about the same density as Pluto, and has a denser core. Its composition and density are more similar to KBOs than objects of the Saturnian system. Has water ice on its surface and probably liquid water in its interior at some point in its history. First satellite discovered using photography. First moon targeted by Cassini. Source of dark hemisphere of Iapetus. Smaller fragments land on Hyperion and Titan.

Saturn In The News[]

Cassini in the News[]

Storms Drive Winds (May 2007)[]

Length of Saturn's Day Shorter Than Believed (Sep 2009)[]

Saturn at Equinox (Aug 2009)[]

Object Pierces Ring During Equinox (Aug 2009)[]

Lightning Superbolts Imaged (Jun 2010)[]

White Storm Imaged by Cassini (Dec 2011)[]

Saturn's Position Charted By Cassini (Jan 2011)[]

See Jupiter

Radio Signals Vary by Hemisphere (Mar 2011)[]

Ripples in Rings Due to Past Collisions (Mar 2011)[]

See also Saturn and Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

Enceladus Causes Aurora's on Saturn (Apr 2011)[]

See Enceladus, Io, Triton

Giant Storm Spreads Across Planet (May 2011)[]

Viewed with both Casinia and Europes VLT array, rearranges Saturn's cloud decks nearby, first infrared observations of a giant storm

Cassini Has Minor Short Circuit (Jun 2011)[]

New Great White Spot Storm Erupts (Jul 2011)[]

Enceladus Source of Water in Saturn's Upper Atmosphere (Jul 2011)[]

Cassini Photography in the News[]

Dione Above Saturn's Rings Over Rhea (Feb 2011)[]

See also Rhea, Dione

Video of Cassini Flyby in Outside In Imax Project (Mar 2011)[]

See also Saturn, Mimas, Enceladus, Titan, Hyperion, Iapetus

Saturn, Titan, Enceladus, and Pandora Image (Mar 2011)[]

See also Enceladus, Titan, Pandora

Black Saturn and Three Moons (Jul 2011)[]

See also Rhea, Enceladus, Dione

Titan Saturn System Mission in the News[]

Initially known as "Tandem" in Europe
Titan orbiter would explore Saturn system prior to entering Titan orbiter

About to Choose Between Saturn and Jupiter Missions (Jan 2009)[]

See Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede, Saturn, Titan, Enceladus

Europa Mission Chosen (Feb 2009)[]

See Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede, Saturn, Titan, Enceladus

Earth Based Observations in the News[]

Great White Spot of 1990[]

White Spot in 1996[]

White Spot in 2006[]

Feature Articles[]

First Image From Orbit Photoessay[]

See also Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Book on Alien Weather (May 2011)[]

See also Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Titan, Uranus, Neptune, Triton

Golf Simulator on Saturn's Moons (Jul 2011)[]

Greatest Mysteries at Saturn (Aug 2011)[]

Other Photography in the News[]

Photo of Most Planets From Near Mercury (Feb 2011)[]

See Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune