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Saturn

Astronomy
by

Alessandro Rossi

on 20 March 2013

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Transcript of Saturn

History Discovery Name Myths and Legends Known since prehistoric times
Babylonian astronomers systematically observed and recorded the movements of Saturn The planet takes its name from the Roman god of agriculture Saturnus Saturn Alessandro Rossi Marcello Sbordi V Sc. A Facts The Planet Curiosities They are composed by millions of iced objects, going from a dimension of a micrometre up to a metre, rotating on the equatorial plane around Saturn
The rocks composing the rings start from 6600 km above the atmosphere until 120 000 km. They are 10 m thick
They are divided into 7 layers, separated by empty spaces
Saturn has the most spectacular rings of any planet
Saturn rings are broad and thin (like a CD) The Planet 8,96 m/s² (0.914 g) Although Saturn is not gaseous at all, it is considered a gas giant (75% H, 25% He, traces of H2O, CH4, NH3)
The inner part of Saturn is made of metallic Hydrogen and Helium
Its nucleus is made of silicates and ice Atmosphere Formation Rings Curiosities 2009: thanks to the Spitzer telescope a new ring has been discovered
It is not visible because it does not reflect light, but it can be observed within the IR spectrum
It is composed by ice and dust at -157° C The big ring Saturn's Hexagon 1980s: probe Voyager and Cassini observed an hexagonal conformation of clouds over the North pole
The origin of this phenomenon is still unknown, also because the South pole does not present it Exploration Pioneer 11 Voyager Satellites and Probes First exploration on 11th September 1979
It fled over Saturn from 20 000 km
It took only low quality images
Pioneer 11 helped to discover that the obscure spaces between Saturn rings are not completely empty
It measured Titan temperature (-23°C) and Saturn magnetic field (1 000x Earth's one) Voyager 1 1979: Pioneer 11, fly-by
1980: Voyager 1, fly-by
1981: Voyager 2, fly-by
2004, July: Cassini-Huygens Probe, fly-by of Phoebe and Saturn.
2004, December: Cassini released Huygens Probe on Titan (2005, Jan) Solar eclipse on Saturn (Cassini Probe) November 1980: first high resolution images sent to Earth
JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) scientists decided to observe Titan atmosphere, which cannot be seen because of his impermeability to light 1610: Galileo with his telescope first observed Saturn, being attracted by its peculiar shape
1655: the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens used a greater telescopic magnification and he was the first to find out the moon Titan
1674: Giovanni Domenico Cassini later discovered 4 other moons 1859: the granular nature of the rings was theoretically proved by J. C. Maxwell
1899: W. H. Pickering discovered Phoebe, a highly irregular satellite that does not rotate synchronously with Saturn as the larger moons do Greek previously made sacred the planet to Cronus Romans considered Saturnus the equivalent of the Greek god Cronus and they followed this tradition Diameter 120 500 km Mass 95.152 Earths (5.6846×10^26 kg) Volume 763.59 Earths (8.2713×10^14 km^3) Rotation Period 0.45 Earth days 9.582 AU (1 433 449 370 km) Average distance from the Sun 29 Earth years Revolution Period Orbital speed 9.69 km/s The Lord of the Rings Acceleration of gravity Number of moons 56+ Saturn atmosphere is mainly composed by Helium and Hydrogen
It is very similar to Jupiter's one
Saturn atmosphere is very difficult to be observed because it is very weak and thin
In 1990s Voyager and Hubble made it possible to systematically observe this atmosphere There are two hypothesis on the rings' origin:
Destruction of a satellite collided with a comet or another satellite
Scraps of Saturn matter during his formation Satellites Titan Titan The haze in its atmosphere provides anti-greenhouse effect by reflecting sun rays and making its surface significantly colder than its upper atmosphere Diameter 5 150 km Mass 0.023 Earths
(1,345x10^23 kg) Volume 0.066 Earths (7.16x10^10 km^3) Acceleration of gravity 0.14g(1.352 m/s^2) Discover date March 25, 1655, by Christian Huygens Information Biggest and the heaviest of Saturn satellites
Composed half by iced water and half by rocky materials
It is larger than Mercury It has a rocky center surrounded by several layers of different crystals formed of ice
It also has, probably, an inner liquid layer composed by water and ammonia which let water in his liquid state although temperatures are more or less -100° C It has an atmosphere, conversely of other satellites, and it is the only one (apart from Earth's one) which is Nitrogen-rich
Almost free of water steam because of low temperatures Surface temperature: -179° C Voyager 2 August 1981: more accurate images
It measured Saturn's atmosphere temperature and density
Unfortunately, it remained many days stopped and Saturn gravity has been used to send the Voyager 2 to Uranus Cassini-Huygens Probe 2004, 1st July: it enters the Saturn's atmosphere, providing plenty of high resolution images
2004, 25th december: it collects a lot of high quality photos of Titan
It helped finding another ring and 3 new moons
It is still operating Enceladus Composition: 91% H2O steam, 4% N, 3.2% CO2, 1.7% CH4 3 different typology of ground (craters, planes and mountains)
It's Saturn's sixth largest moon
It is mostly made of ice.
It is pretty close to Saturn. It is actually inside of Saturn's beautiful rings. The new photos show evidence that under all that snow and ice lay an ocean, most likely of water, which lays the foundation for the existence of life
Evidence of this life includes the satellite's salt-rich particles having an "ocean-like" composition that indicates most of Enceladus expelled ice comes from the evaporation of liquid salt water (seas) Enceladus is a relatively small satellite, quite near to Saturn Enceladus Diameter 498.8 km Mass 1.8x10^-5 Earths
(8.6x10^19 kg) Volume 5.99x10^-5 Earths
(6.47x10^7 km^3) Acceleration of gravity 0.11 g (0.114 m/s^2) Discover date August 28, 1789, by William Herschel Information It is one of the biggest, fourteenth in order of distance
Composed half by iced water and half by rocky materials THE END It is the second-largest planet in the solar system
Its average density is less than that of water (<1g/cm^3) General Info
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