The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Density of Saturn

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Zitzewitz, Paul & Robert Neff. Physics. New York: Glencoe, 1995. "Mass of Saturn = 5.68 × 1026 kg
Volume of Saturn = 2.69 × 1063 m3"
0.690 g/cm3
Larousse. Astronomy. USA: Facts on File, 1986. "Saturn's low density (0.70 g/cm3) indicates the planet consists mainly of hydrogn and helium gases." 0.70 g/cm3
Moche, Dinah. Astronomy. New York: Wiley, 1993. "Mass of Saturn is equal to 95 times that of earth. Volume of Saturn is equal to 844 times that of Earth. Saturn has the lowest average density of all the planets" 0.7 g/cm3
Meblin, Theodore. Astronomy. New York: Wiley, 1959. "Saturn has an equotorial diameter of 5,000 miles and polar diameter of 67,000. If a large enough ocean could be found Saturn would float only ¾ submerged." 0.75 g/cm3
Grolier Encyclopedia. America Online. 1996. "Saturn's mass 95.1 times that of Earth. Saturn's volume 769 times that of Earth" 0.69 g/cm3
Hamilton, Calvin J. Saturn. Views of the Solar System. Los Alamos, NM: Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Saturn is the only planet less dense than water (about 30 percent less). In the unlikely event that a large enough ocean could be found, Saturn would float in it." 0.7 g/cm3

The density of Saturn is lower than any other planet. Different sources have different values for the density of Saturn. They are 0.75 g/cm3, 0.69 g/cm3, and 0.7 g/cm3. Although these numbers are different they are all close enough to each other to be able to be the density of Saturn. The formula for density is mass/volume. The mass of Saturn is approximately 95.1 times that of Earth. The volume is approximately 769 times that of Earth. When scientists divide Saturn's mass/volume they come up with a number close to 0.70 g/cm3.

So I tired to find the density of Saturn by following the formula (m/V). The mass of Saturn is 5.68 × 1026 kg. And to find the volume of Saturn we use the formula (4/3)(3.14)(radius)3. Saturn's radius is 58.2 × 106 M. So when we plug in the formula volume = (4/3)(3.14)(58.2 × 106 m)3 = 8.23 × 1023 m3. Then to find the density we divide mass by volume = 5.68 × 1026 kg/8.23 × 1023 m3 = 690 kg/m3 = 0.69 g/cm3.

The density of Saturn is less than that of water, which is 1 g/cm3, so if Saturn were to be dropped into a bathtub it would float. Because of Saturn's low density it can be determined that the planet is made up mostly of light gases like hydrogen and helium.

The structure of Saturn has an atmosphere with a consistency of hydrogen and helium gas. This layer is 1000 kilometers thick. The next layer is made up of hydrogen. The first 30,000 kilometers of this layer is made up of hydrogen gas and the rest is made up of hydrogen in a metallic form. Finally, the next layer, the core, is made up of water, methane and ammonia.

Besides its low density Saturn has other distinguishing characteristic's. One characteristic is that a series of concentric rings surround the planet. A second characteristic is the equatorial diameter of Saturn is 74,500 miles and the polar diameter of Saturn is 67,000 miles. With these measurements Saturn is an oblate spheroid.

Meredith G. -- 1997