Saturn, a Moon for Earth? (Video)

SaturnSaturn,  a moon for Earth, is a captivating thought. With its brilliance of gastric colors, it provides a spectacular image in the universe. During the month of February, an amazing presence will be in the sky. On February 12 and 13, 2015, the north side of Saturn will be seen during the predawn hours. The display of beauty in the sky can be seen in the southwest for approximately two and half hours after midnight. The Earth’s moon and this planet will align with one another.

Although this planet is one of the furthest away, it can still be seen with the naked eye. Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune have rings, but, Saturn’s rings are unique and display extraordinary beauty. Using a telescope, the depth of this dazzling display of colors will be more enjoyable.

It is the sixth planet from the sun and is noted to be the 5th brightest of all the planets in the sky. It is second in line for the shortest day moving at a rate of 10 hours and 34 minutes on its axis.  In 29.4 Earth years, this planet will have worked its way around the sun. Surprisingly, the gravity of both the Earth and Saturn are very similar.

In comparison to the Earth, the composition of the planet, Saturn, is mainly  ice and rock.  The weather conditions are very different on this planet. Storms are massive in size and last for a considerable length of time than what happens in the earth’s environment. The strong winds create a colorful band around the planet. The clouds on Saturn contain so much sulfur that it gives it a yellowish appearance. Temperatures range from -218 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the atmosphere’s distance from the sun.

It has 150 moons but only 62 have been identified. The massive size of this planet could hold 750 Earths. Due to the fact that it is composed of very high levels of hydrogen than helium, it lacks density. The gaseous atmosphere, which is  96 % hydrogen and 4% helium, establishes conditions that would be lethal for life to survive. In fact, the Earth, which has the greatest density in the Solar System, has eight times more than that of Saturn. If it were placed in a bathtub large enough to contain this planet, it would simply float.

Saturn, as moon for Earth, is 35 times greater than our moon. The Earth’s moon is 240,000 miles away. Although the distance is constantly changing between the two planets, Saturn and Earth have been as close as 746 million miles apart. If this planet were to rise every evening as the moon does on a daily basis, the many rings would expand from horizon to horizon. The rings spread more than 120,000 kilometers from the planet, and, it is noted for having high levels of radiation due to its strong magnetic field.

In October of 2017, more of Saturn’s rings will be visible. As this planet continues to evolve in space, it will continue to expand the presence of its rings as the tilt of the  movement increases.

By: Marie A. Wakefield

National Geographic

Universe Today




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