Saturn is most noted for its dazzling rings. The rings consist of water-ice particles that appear as a solid ring from our distant perspective. The main ring system extends from 700 kilometers above the clouds to 74,000 kilometers above Saturn's clouds. The ring system is very thin, averaging only about 100 meters thick. Although the rings appear extensive, if all of the material were collected it would form a satellite moon only about 500 kilometers in diameter. By comparison, our moon has a diameter of 3,475 kilometers.
Saturn is 9 and 1/2 times as far from the Sun as the Earth. Saturn has at least 18 known moons, four of which were discovered in images taken by the Voyager spacecraft. Saturn's moon Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system, and is even larger than the planets Mercury or Pluto. Titan is the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere.
A Saturn photo can never match how awesome this planet looks visually through my telescope. This photo was taken with a Takahashi FS-128 using eyepiece projection and a 5mm occular. This was a 7 second exposure on Fuji Super G+ 800 film.
RA: 02h 05m 4.0s Dec: +09d 47' 10"
September 21, 1998
Photo by Sid Leach
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