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Planetary Rings



Saturn through the Hubble Space Telescope Saturn through an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain

Planet Profile

Mass (kg)                                                    5.69 x 10^26

Diameter (km)                                                    120660

Mean density (kg/m^3)                                             690

Escape velocity (m/sec)                                        35600

Average distance from Sun (AU)                              9.539

Rotation period (length of day in Earth hours)            10.2

Revolution period (length of year in Earth years)      29.46

Obliquity (tilt of axis in degrees)                               26.7

Orbit inclination (degrees)                                        2.49

Orbit eccentricity (deviation from circular)              0.056

Mean temperature (K)                            88 K (1 bar level)

Visual geometric albedo (reflectivity)                        0.46

Atmospheric components:    97% hydrogen, 3% helium, .05% methane

Rings:    Rings are 270,000 km in diameter, but only a few hundred meters thick. Particles are centimeters to decameters in size and are ice (some may be covered with ice); there are traces of silicate and carbon minerals. There are four main ring groups and three more faint, narrow ring groups separated by gaps called divisions.


More information about Saturn and its moons can be found by clicking here.