Mean distance from Sun: 1,426,725,400 km
Orbital Period: 29.4571 years
Rotational Period: 10 hours, 14 minutes
Composition: hydrogen, helium, methane
Another failed star in our solar system comprised mostly of the same elements as the Sun. It is considered a failed star because it is not massive enough to initiate and sustain nuclear fusion, the energy process that powers the Sun and all other stars. The aurorae observed at the poles can last for days at a time instead of minutes as they do on Earth. Observations of the aurorae indicate that they are not driven by the magnetic field of the Sun but instead by the pressure of its solar wind. These results defied scientists’ expectations.
Saturn, as with the other Jovian planets, is a giant sphere of electrically active plasma. Its north and south pole act as a cathode and anode in an electrical discharge of the ionized particles that comprise the planet. This discharge is not visible to the human eye and so is sometimes referred to as a “dark mode” current or discharge. However, the discharge is visible in ultraviolet, infrared and even radio wavelengths close to the poles and particularly in auroral emissions at the poles.