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Exploring the Outer Planets: Saturn, Uranus & Neptune

When it comes to gaining a reputation for a lovely ring system, there is no denying the popularity of Saturn, where countless science classes has studied this feature for centuries. When choosing a planet that shares a lot of the same characteristics as Saturn, it would have to be Jupiter, as they both highlight atmospheric compositions that are comparable.

Saturn

While Jupiter is huge, Saturn is less in size, as it is only equals 95 of Earth masses. There are 60 known satellites of Saturn with three still lingering for confirmation. Two of the satellites actually show remnants of geological activity even though the entire composition is made up of ice. These are Titan and Enceladus (in case you were wondering). Titan is also larger than Mercury and is known as the only satellite in the Solar System that possesses a substantial atmosphere.

Facts About Saturn

Saturn is the second largest of the planets and the sixth planet located from the Sun.

Did you know that Saturn is flattened at the poles, which is caused by the speedy rotation on its axis?

Galileo, who accomplished this feat in 1610, made the discovery of Saturn. He uncovered the planet because he was concerned about the strange sight he was finding in his telescope.

Saturn is the only planet in the Solar System that is less dense than water.

The wind that blows on Saturn reaches high speeds, as some breezes can blow up to 1,100 miles per hour.

Uranus

Measuring at just 14 Earth masses, Uranus serves as the lightest out of all the other outer planets. This planet is rather unique because of its orbiting pattern, as it circles the Sun on its side. Researchers have discovered over the years that the axial tilt of the planets is beyond 90 degrees of the outer planets. The core of Uranus is colder than the other gas giants, as it radiates a low amount of heat into space. There are 27 satellites known to exist with Uranus with the largest being called Oberon, Ariel, Miranda, Umbriel, and Titania.

Facts About Uranus

Uranus holds the title as third largest planet in the Solar System.

The helium, methane, and hydrogen create the attractive color of Uranus, which are all found in the atmosphere. It is the methane that absorbs red light, which caused the planet to showcase a blue-green color.

Uranus spins from east to west, which is the same as Venus, but the opposite of Earth,

The only spacecraft to make a guest appearance on Uranus was the Voyager 2.

Uranus is named after the Greek god of the sky, who was the husband of Gaia , the goddess of the Earth.

Neptune

The size of Neptune is a bit smaller than Uranus but possesses a higher level of massiveness, as it equals 17 Earths. This makes the planet denser. While Jupiter and Saturn radiate internal heat, Neptune does as well (more than Uranus, but not more than Jupiter or Saturn). There are 13 known satellites attached to the planet with the largest being Triton, which is geologically active , possessing geysers comprised of liquid nitrogen. Triton is unique because it is the only large satellite that has a retrograde orbit. Additionally, when Neptune orbits, it is joined by a collection of minor planets that are called Neptune Trojans.

Facts About Neptune

Neptune is the fourth largest planet found in the Solar System.

The blue color of the planet is attributed to the absorption of red light that methane in the atmosphere is responsible for.

The only spacecraft to visit Neptune was the Voyager 2, who made this journey in 1989.

When it comes to strong winds, Neptune holds the position as having the strongest of any other planet in the Solar System.

Neptune is named after the god of the sea depicted in Roman mythology.