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Saturn's internal structure

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Model of the internal structure of the gas giant planet Saturn. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, orbiting at just over 10 times the Earth-Sun distance. It is some 120,500 kilometres in diameter, just under 9.5 times Earth's diameter. It has an extensive ring system that is some 280,000 kilometres wide, and extends much further than that with faint rings. The tops of its clouds are show plae banding, although the bands are not as prominent as those on Jupiter. Beneath these clouds is a thick layer of hydrogen and helium (light blue), turned to a fluid state by pressure. Deeper still, the pressure changes the hydrogen to a metallic state (dark blue). At its centre is a rocky core (grey), formed of iron, nickel and silicates. Saturn is the only planet in the Solar System with an overall density less than that of water.

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  • Duration: 00:00:19
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  • Format: Photo JPEG 100% QuickTime movie

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