Solar System Tour – Saturn

Saturn, the ringed giant.

Back in the 70’s Ben Bova (then the editor of Analog magazine) along with Trudy Bell, produced a wonderfully illustrated book caled Close Up: New Worlds that billed itself as “astounding modern views of the solar system”.

Well, that was 1977.  To date it is to note that it includes Pluto among the planets.

I used that book as a resource while designing SF strategy board games.  It was a great compendium of both known fact and SF speculation.

NASA and other space agencies have taken a lot more pictures since then with Hubble, other space telescopes and a huge variety of probes either taking up orbits or doing fly-bys.

Lets just say it’s been a while since anyone has taken a grand tour the way that Ben and Trudy did back in ’77.  So we’re going to reprise that book using the latest and greatest.


Saturn lies at a distance from the sun of nearly 898 million miles
It is approximately 72,000 miles in diameter
Saturn takes 29 years to orbit the Sun
Saturn has an axial tilt of 26.7 degrees
The surface temperature on Saturn is -270 degrees (Fahrenheit)
It’s escape velocity is 80,731 miles per hour
Its surface gravity is 34.3. feet/second squared

Saturn is considered to be a Gas Giant planet.

We can’t leave without mentioning that while Saturn’s ring system (composed of ice and dust) is the system’s most spectacular, the other gas giants have rings as well.

This year, Saturn will be visible throughout most of the  year.  From February 19th through March 5th, it is visible in the night sky.. From March 25th through May 7th in the morning sky..

NASA has a wonderful planetary information resource.  You can learn far more about Jupiter here


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