THE GIANT PLANETS :
1. WHAT ARE SATURN’S RINGS?
Ans: Saturn’s rings are the planets shining halo, first seen by Galileo Galilei ( I564-1642), who invented the first simple telescope in 1609. The rings are made of countless billions of tiny chips of ice and dust, few bigger than a refrigerator and most the size of ice cubes. The rings are incredibly thin no more than 50 m deep yet they stretch from 7,000 km to 74,000 km out into space. One of Saturn’s rings is as thin as a piece of tissue paper being stretched over a football pitch.
2. HOW WINDY IS SATURN?
Ans: Saturn’s winds are even faster th roar round up to I,800 km/h. But Neptune’s a even faster!Jupiter’s and the planet.
3. WHAT IS THE CASSINI DIVISION?
Ans: Saturn’s rings occur in broad bands referred to by the letters A to G. In 167 the astronomer Cassini spotted a dart gap between rings A and B. This is now called the Cassini division, after him.
4. HOW MANY MOONS HAS SATURN?
Ans: Saturn has at least 18 moons, including Lapetus, which is dark on one side and light on the other.
5. HOW BIG IS JUPITER?
Ans: Very big. Even though Jupiter is largely gas, it weighs 320 times as much as the Earth and is 142,984 km in diameter.
6. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE JUPITER TO ORBIT THE SUN?
Ans: Jupiter takes 11 years and 314 days (by our Earth calendar) to complete its journey around the Sun.
7. WHAT ARE THE GIANT PLANETS?
Ans: Jupiter and Saturn, the fifth and sixth planets out from the Sun, are the giants of the solar system. Jupiter is twice as heavy as all the planets put together. Saturn is almost as big. Unlike the inner planets, they are both made largely of gas, and only their very core is rocky. This does not mean they are vast cloud balls. The enormous pressure of gravity means the gas is squeezed until it becomes liquid, and even solid.
8. COULD YOU LAND ON JUPITER?
Ans: No. Even if your spaceship could withstand the enormous pressures, there is no surface to land on – the atmosphere merges unnoticeably into deep oceans of liquid hydrogen.
9. HOW FAST DOES JUPITER SPIN?
Ans: Jupiter spins faster than any other planet. Despite its huge size, it turns right around in just 9 hours 55 minutes, which means the surface is moving at 45,000 km/h!