Glossary term: Saturn

Description: Saturn is known as the jewel of the Solar System. It can be seen with the naked eye as a matte point of light in the sky, even though it is over a billion kilometres away from Earth; the beautiful rings that surround it can be seen with a telescope. It is the sixth planet from the Sun, and the second largest of the planets in terms of size and mass, with a diameter of 120,000 km and with the lowest density of the Solar System planets, less dense than water on Earth. Saturn revolves around the Sun in an elliptical path; it takes 29 Earth years to complete one revolution around the Sun and nearly 11 hours to complete one rotation around its own axis. It is one of the gas giants, with 82 known moons, of which 53 have been officially named. Among these moons, Titan is the largest, and is the only moon in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

Related Media

The planet Saturn with pale brownish cloud ribbons and its thin and extended greyish rings


Caption: The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on 20 June 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, at approximately 1.36 billion kilometres away. The image shows coloured bands of gas on the planet's surface as well as its prominent rings made of ice and rocky material.
Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) credit link
License: CC-BY-4.0 Creative Comments Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) icons