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Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus (the Titan father of …

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus (the Titan father of Zeus), the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani.

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  • 1. The Planets – SaturnSaturn is a planet in the solar system that is often described with its system of rings surroundingits surface. It has about seven rings with numerous small rings, a minimum of eighteen satellitesor moons.Meaning of the name ‘Saturn’:In Roman mythology, this is considered to be the god of fertility and planting (agriculture).Some believed that this name originated from Etruscan. Romans identified this Greek god withCronus and his wife ‘Ops’ who is the goddess of fertility and harvest. Planetary rings: Compared to rings of Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus, this planet’s rings are more visible. It is composed of rings and thousands of ringlets made from ice particles. Each ring’s thickness varies and ranges from 200 m to 3,000 m. The gap or space between each ring has a width of about 3,200 km. Some gaps may also contain ringlets.The planet’s rings have about 6,630 km to 120,000 km of extension and are composed of iceparticles with tholin and amorphous carbon. There are two theories present that give overview ofthe origin of these rings. First, these rings are product of moons that have been destroyed aroundthe planet’s surface. Second, these are particles of nebula (Nebula means cloud of gas and stardusts which are materials that made this planet).Moons:Other than its rings, this planet also has numerous moons or satellites. Most of its moons arenamed after Greek gods and goddesses. Its principal moons are Dione, Mimas, Iapetus,
  • 2. Enceladus, Tethys, second largest Rhea, and the large Titan. Some satellites have their ownsystem of rings only tenuous, while others are too small. About 34 of its numerous satellites arearound 10 km in diameter, while about 14 are within 50 kilometers in diameter.Planet’s description:Among the planets, it is said to be the second in size after Jupiter. Due to its even poles andbulging appearance at its equator, it is described to have an oblate sphere shape. Compared toearth, its diameter is about 10 times larger or 120, 540 kilometers. It will take 10, 759 (earth)days or about 29 years and 6 months for it to travel around the sun. However, its rotation is thesecond fastest among all the planets except Jupiter. One spin will take about 10 hours and 39minutes to complete compared to earth’s 24-hour rotation.Its distance from earth is about 150,000,000 km and 1,429,400,000 km from the sun. Its axis’ tiltcauses unequal heat to be dispersed on its north and south parts. For this reason, temperaturechanges and seasons occur. A season lasts for about 7 years and 6 months in earth’s year due toits slow rotation on sun’s surface. Other than that, it is also cooler in temperature compared toearth because of its far distance from the sun.Structure:Most scientists believe that this planet is an enormous ball of gas without any solid surface.However, it has a seamlessly solid interior made up of iron and rocky materials. This innerstructure has a temperature of 11,700 °C and exudes about two and a half times energy intospace. On the other hand, it also has an outer core that is believed to contain hydrogen, helium,ammonia, H2O, ethane, acetylene, phosphine and methane. This planet does not only exhibit aJupiter-like atmospheric pattern, it also has a strong magnetic field. This creates a huge zone ofmagnetic forces around its surface which is known as magnetosphere.
  • 3. The Rings of SaturnRings of Saturn is a popular planetary ring structure in the solar system known to be visible inEarth’s sky even through unaided eyes.Rings observations:In the year 1965, Christian Huygens became the man behind the idea that Saturn had rings. Byusing his customized telescope, he made studies to verify his theory.In the year 1675, Giovanni Cassini discovered that these rings were composed of smaller ringsand gaps located in between each. Huge gaps were named after him known as ‘Cassini division’.In the year 1787, Pierre Laplace stated his theory that there were numerous solid small ringsmaking the larger rings.In the year 1859, James Maxwell proved that rings were not solid because they would easilybreak into smaller pieces or even particles. His theory suggested that rings were made fromparticles that were rotating around Saturn’s surface. This theory was supported with studiesconducted by James Keeler.
  • 4. Rings theories:There are two major theories in relation to Saturn’s rings. In 19th century, the first known theorywas made by Edouard Roche. According to him, rings surrounding this planet were composed ofmoons broken by comets and asteroids. On the other hand, the second theory disproved the firstspeculation and believed that these rings were remnants of Nebula.The planet’s rings:Names of main rings came from letters A to F, while other ringlets are named after theirdiscoverers and gods and goddesses of Greek mythology.Main rings have 7,000 km to 80,000 km extension located above Saturn’s equator. These mainrings are composed of 1centimeter to 10 meter sized particles and have an overall mass of3 x 1019 kilograms. They use more than 15 billion sq. miles of area which is eighty times that ofthe Earth’s area. Moreover, these rings are composed of ice particles.Ring A and B are among the brightest rings, while the latter is described to be wide and thick. Cring is also known as ‘crepe ring’ due to its transparency compared to Ring D’s indistinctvisibility. F ring is very thin in size and is flanked by two moons (Pandora and Prometheus).These two moons are known as ‘shepherding moons’ for they have power over movements ofring’s particles.Here are some names used by rings and ringlets:For major subdivisions, names like D ring, C ring, B ring, Cassini division, A ring, Rochedivision, F ring, Janus ring, G ring, Methone ring arc, Anthe ring arc, Pallene ring, E ring, andPhoebe ring are utilized. C ring structures used names like Colombo gap, Titan ringlet, Maxwellgap, Maxwell ringlet, Bond gap, 1.470Rs ringlet, 1495Rs ringlet, and Dawes gap.In Cassini division, Huygens gap, Huygens ringlet, Herschel gap, Russell gap, Jeffreys gap,Kuiper gap, Laplace gap, Bessel gap, and Barnard gap are some of names used. A ring structuresnamed gaps ‘Encke’ and ‘Keeler’.Latest discovery:In the year 2009, a new discovery was announced by NASA. Saturn has a new ring described tobe colossal and only appears in infrared portion of the spectrum. This was found throughadvance technology used by Spitzer Telescope. According to Scientists, if this ring is visible inthe Earth, it will look like two moon-sized rings in the sky.
  • 5. Due to this ring’s enormous size, Scientists were able to discern the reason behind Cassinidivision’s dark appearance. They were able to explain that this ring surrounds Saturn indirections similar with Phoebe ring.Saturn - Lord of the Rings and Lord of the SkiesSaturn as Lord of the rings: One of the reasons this planet is called as such because of its ringsand ringlets found around its surface. In the year 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered Saturn as abright star with two side moons. Galileo viewed the planet’s supposedly rings as ‘handles’. Laterthat year, other discoveries emerged and progressed giving more information about the planet’smagnificent features.Even though Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune are planets with rings, most people are fascinatedwith Saturn’s planetary rings and small rings surrounding its surface. Each ring discovered byspacecrafts and astronomical probes are given names according to their order of breakthrough aswell as their specific discoverers. On the other hand, due to interactions between the planet’smoons or satellites, ringlets are formed that became part of Saturn’s magnificence.
  • 6. Rings of this planet are relatively near each other except for the Cassini ring division is thelargest gap that has about 4,700 km measurement. This division separates A ring and B ring.Located at the outermost portion are the planet’s main rings known as A ring, B, ring and C ring.In addition to that, D ring is the closest ring to Saturn and is described with its extremely fadedlook. F ring is found in the exterior of A ring that has thin appearance. G ring as well as E ringappears more fainted found beyond F ring. All of these have 26.7 degrees inclination to Saturn’sorbital surface and most of them are circular in shape, but appear eccentric.Rings of Saturn are described by most Astronomers as the thinnest disks with a ratio of thicknessto radius of about 10-6. Furthermore, these rings are also known as the oldest disks that finished1012 rotations around Saturn’s surface. Interior radius of this planet’s rings measure -8 22approximately 69,000 km with external radius of 213,000 km. 5 × 10 total mass (3×10grams) of all the rings are detailed by Scientists. Recent discoveries showed that theserings create spokes which are believed to be products of interactions between charged particles inrings. Therefore, magnetosphere became existent.Saturn as Lord of the skies: This planet is given this label due to its visibility without the needfor any astrological equipment. Any person can see this planet provided that he or she is in agood location and other certain factors make visibility possible.Planets compared to stars haveposition changes every night andlevels of brightness vary over dates.These heavenly bodies do notscintillate (twinkle) in contrast withstars, but rather shine steadily whenabove earth’s horizon. Planets whichare not so distant to earth such asMercury, Mars, and Venus canappear in the earth’s sky withindays. On the other hand, thoseplanets that are too far from earth
  • 7. can be seen in longer period of time without even using binoculars or telescopes, but featuresmay appear vague.Visibility of ‘naked eye’ planets like Saturn usually depends on the orbital positions of planets aswell as earth. The extent of time in which a planet appears visible at night is also dependent onthe Sun and its light on a given night.Planets also have apparitions which emerge when the sun’s glare is captured by these heavenlybodies. Thus, they become very visible during twilight and apparitions end whenever planetsdisappear into sun’s rays. This is a cycle called ‘regular appearance’ undergone by planets.Saturn is Visible without Using a TelescopeThose people who were able to experience that Saturn is visible without using a telescopedescribe the planet as a bright yellow light in dark sky. Its light has a magnitude between (+) 1and zero. At a first glance, Saturn looks like Jupiter, but a smaller one. Its diameter is nine and ahalf times that of the earth. It has a mass of 95 times more than the earth and its rotation period isabout ten hours and 39 minutes. Like planet Jupiter, it has 0.7 gm / cc density which is said to beless than water’s density.Even without any equipment, Saturn can be seen. However, good viewing site is necessary to besuccessful in locating this planet. Also, an updated map of the sky during night will be helpful.For the reason that planets move in different paths, this planet may not be that visible often. Itwill be nice if a viewer will research on dates when this planet will be greatly visible.Location also plays a role. Sometimes, being in a city will affect the sky’s view due to thesignificant amount of pollution covering the sky as well as building lights. Moreover, Saturn willbe best seen in the sky when this planet is near or at the opposite of the Sun. The opposingposition means that the planet’s configuration is at 180 degrees (elongation). In 17th of December2002, the planet’s rings had complimentary orientation relative to Earth that made it to shine thebrightest in the sky.
  • 8. One of the early evidences of Saturn’s visibility was during early years when people view thisplanet with their naked eyes. Even before telescope and other space explorations happened,Galileo Galilee first discovered the planet’s existence in the year 1610. He thought that ringssurrounding Saturn were side moons. It was only in the 17th century when advancements intelescopic equipment progressed. Christian Huygens disproved Galileo’s theory and used highquality equipment to further study this heavenly body. After these, discoveries were made byother scientists.Other explorations were made through spacecrafts and other flybys. In September of 1979,Pioneer 11 probed this planet within its surface. Images were obtained, but lacked goodresolution to show clear features. The spacecraft conducted studies and discovered F ring andTitan’s temperature. Other than that, studies showed that ring gaps may look dark, but appearvery bright by viewing towards the Sun. This has been one of the factors believed to affect howSaturn is seen on Earth without using any equipment.
  • 9. In November of 1980,Voyager 1 explored thisplanet’s system and was ableto produce high qualityimages of its surface features.With its study with Titan’squalities, the spacecraft wasable to contribute moreinformation about theatmosphere of moons orsatellites. This brought furtherinterests on the planet and itsfeatures.In August of 1981, Voyager 2 acquired proofs of atmospheric changes and more information.However, some plans were not successful due to troubles in image equipment. Other spaceprobes were initiated to give additional information about this planet and its magnificent form.Saturn is known for its rings and ringlets made up of countless particles. However, these featuresare not lucid when viewed without equipment. It will take about at least twenty times telescopiczoom to see each ring clearly. Other people do not believe that Saturn is visible without using atelescope, but for those who were able to enjoy its beauty, they continue to be fascinated with itsappearance especially during dark nights.Saturn Transit in Virgo and Its EffectsThe transitions happening between planets and signs are believed to have relation with humancharacter and life paths. Astrologers believe that with the movement of planets and otherheavenly bodies, characters of human beings are being affected every time. In the field ofAstrology, zodiac is a group of constellations that is divided into 12 different signs with theirown personalities. Each sign has its own planet.
  • 10. Some who are patrons of Astrology consider these movements as deciding factors which shall bedone and which must be left untouched in a specific period of their lives. Astrologers use ‘house’or horoscope which is a chart that has 12 divisions. Each house represents a person’s lifeelements and reveals a person’s future. Divisions include: 1) exterior look and inner qualities, 2)properties, 3) family affairs, 4) mother and father, 5) offspring, 6) health and well being, 7)friends and wedding, 8) death, 9) expeditions, 10) career and commerce, 11) ethics, 12) infirmityand grief.Naked eye planets like Saturn are moving along a rather constricted band. Each heavenly bodypasses through twelve zodiac constellations: 1) Pisces or fishes, 2) Aries or ram, 3) Taurus orbull, 4) Gemini or twins, 5) Cancer or crab, 6) Leo or lion, 7) Virgo or virgin, 8) Libra or scale,9) Scorpio or scorpion, 10) Sagittarius or archer, 11) Capricorn or sea goat, 12) Aquarius orwater bearer. Moreover, Sun, Moon and other planets also travel through a thirteenthconstellation known as ‘Ophiuchus’ or serpent possessor. This is barely known sign which lies inthe southern portion or just between Scorpion and Sagittarius.
  • 11. When Saturn transits in Virgo, Astrologers believe that it is best to regard moderation as wellas caution as important life factors. When this planet moves, it is believed that a person shallavoid any fight or trouble. It will produce negative effects if dire vibes reign on a person’s mood.It will be helpful if a person learns how to work hard and be patient when things feel likeslowing down. This is a time when inner qualities are strengthened and limitations are observed.In this period, building a good foundation is recommended. By carrying each lesson in all lifeaspects, a person will gain positive changes especially during the time when Saturn points in thesame sign or planet.Astrologers also describe the sign Virgo in relation to earth and something like precise, service,medicine, or trade. For these can be influenced by transitions happening with planets in the solarsystem, people and their specific signs will experience changes as well as countries in the world.For instance, in world trends, earth-related efforts will be raised and sustainable developmentwill be a goal. This is believed to root from Virgo’s lesson of modest lifestyle. People will beconscious on what they eat and artificial food production will be questioned. Ideas on eco-friendly communities will experience progress that will help people realize uncertainties thatmay happen in the future.On the other hand, a person’s life calls for productivity when Saturn is in the sign of Virgo. Thissign is believed by most Astrologers as something in relation to endurance and sense ofresponsibility. Therefore, when Saturn transits in Virgo, a person shall be involved in activitiesthat require much effort and discipline. Moreover, it also gives significance to diet and balancebetween work and rest.