Saturn is the true Lord of the Rings of the Solar System. It is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest. The best known peculiarity of Saturn is that of being surrounded by a ring system, discovered in 1610 by Galileo using one of the first telescopes.
The visible rings extend to a distance of 136,200 km from the center of Saturn, but in many regions they can be only 5 m thick. It is believed to consist of rock aggregates, water ice and frozen gases in sizes that can vary from less than 0.0005 cm in diameter to 10 m (from the size of a dust particle to that of a large stone). An instrument aboard Voyager 2 registered more than 100,000 small rings.
Saturn has 18 recognized satellites and six other moons, discovered in October and November 2000, not yet confirmed. The diameters of its 18 satellites range from 20 to 5,150 km. They consist, essentially, of the lightest icy substances that predominated in the external parts of the gas and dust nebula from which the Solar System was formed. The five largest indoor satellites - Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rea -, are more or less spherical in shape and composed mostly of water ice.
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