Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Hampton University
Saturn is the sixth planet in the solar system counting from the Sun, the second in size and mass after Jupiter, and the only one with a ring system visible from Earth. Its name comes from the Roman god Saturn. It is part of the so-called outer or gaseous planets. The most characteristic aspect of Saturn is its bright rings. Before the invention of the telescope, Saturn was the most distant of the known planets and did not appear bright or interesting to the naked eye. The first to observe the rings was Galileo in 1610,1 but the low inclination of the rings and the low resolution of his telescope made him think at first that they were large moons. Christiaan Huygens, with better means of observation, was able in 1659 to clearly observe the rings. James Clerk Maxwell, in 1859, mathematically demonstrated that the rings could not be a single solid object but must be the grouping of millions of smaller particles. The particles that make up Saturn’s rings rotate at a speed of 48,000 km / h, 15 times faster than a bullet.