Saturday is Saturn's day. Saturn, a god of ancient mythology, is the planet with the beautiful rings. For 13 years, the Cassini space mission studied Saturn, its rings and moons. Here are some facts about this fascinating planet.
Even being the Saturn's second biggest moon doesn't make Rhea very big. We could set three Rheas down on the USA and have room to spare. It whizzes around Saturn so quickly that a month is only four and a half Earth days long. It's so cold there that ice is as hard as rock.
Everybody recognizes Saturn's rings, but that isn't all that circles the planet. There are shepherd moons, a moon with cold volcanoes erupting, a planet-sized moon, and more. And it took nearly two hundred years for the first seven known moons to get named.
The Herschels were one of the greatest astronomical families of all time. A partnership of two brothers and a sister built the best telescopes of their time, and with those telescopes mapped the deep sky. They changed the way astronomers understood the heavens.
William Herschel became famous when he was the first person to discover a new planet. Among his other discoveries were the Saturnian moons Enceladus and Mimas. He discovered them with the 40-foot telescope he built.
It can be hard to be the son of a famous man. Although his father was the first person in history to discover a planet, John Herschel had his own illustrious career. He was not only an astronomer, but also a brilliant mathematician, a talented artist, musician and poet, and a loving family man.
William Herschel discovered the planet which was named Uranus after the ancient Greek sky god. Although Uranus has at least 27 moons, most of them weren't discovered until at least the twentieth century.
This ice giant is twenty times farther from the Sun than we are. It circles the Sun lying on its side, so each half the planet is dark for over twenty years at a time. It's the planet Uranus, discovered in 1781 by William Herschel who named it George.
Far beyond Uranus is another blue planet, one named for the Roman sea god. It could well have been named for a god of winds as it's the windiest place in the Solar System. And it has a captured moon that was a Kuiper Belt object like Pluto.
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