When it comes to unknowns, the Jovian planets still have a lot about them that we’re not quite sure on. Saturn is one of the biggest planets in the solar system, though it’s not quite the biggest. Despite this, in comparison to Earth is so much bigger that it would be difficult to comprehend. So, we’re going to look at the facts and figures about its size in relation to the Earth and the other planets.
How big is Saturn compared to Earth?
Saturn has a total radius of 58,232 kilometers, in comparison to the Earth’s radius of 6,371 km. This means that Saturn is approximately 9 times the size of the Earth, which is a big difference between the two.
Although it is the second largest of the planets in our solar system, it’s still not the largest there is. Jupiter has a radius of 69,911 km, so it’s around 15% bigger than Saturn.
Though for this reason, the two are often paired together as the two gas giants, whilst Uranus and Neptune are referred to as the ice giants. We know how large Saturn is, but there are some other ways that we can measure the planet too.
One of the main things that’s often referred to with a planet is its mass, and we can compare Earth and Saturn in this way too. Saturn has a mass of 5.683 × 10^26 kg, whilst Earth has a mass of 5.972 × 10^24 kg. This means that Saturn is around 95 times as massive as the planet Earth. You can also find more information on the planet Saturn here.
We can also measure the volume of the planets too, which can give us a better idea of just how much bigger Saturn is. Saturn has a volume of 8.2713×1014 km3, and if we compare this to the volume of the Earth, then you’d be able to fit 764 Earth’s into Saturn. So although how large a planet is matters, sometimes more in-depth analysis can give us an idea of just how big the planet is.
Walking across Saturn
If you were to walk all the way round the equator of Saturn, you’d have to travel 227,349 miles, which is much greater than if you’d walk around most other planets, including the Earth.
Obviously, this is all theoretical, as you’d never actually be able to walk across the surface of Saturn. As the second largest planet in the solar system, there’s no surprise that it would take a while to walk across its surface – though not quite as long as it’d take to walk across fellow gas giant Jupiter.
Why? Well, Saturn is actually primarily made up of gas, so much so that it and its twin brother Jupiter are referred to as the gas giants. Whilst Saturn does have an ice core at its center and we think beneath that even a small amount of rock, most of the planet is made up of gas. In fact, we’re not even totally sure that the core of Saturn is fully solid, as many astronomers believe that it’s probably more ice and slushy rock at the center as opposed to hard rock.
This means more than just its atmosphere, which is primarily made up of hydrogen with a small amount of helium added into the mix too.
Beneath this is even more molecular and metallic hydrogen, so in total, the planet is almost entirely made of gas, with very little solid about it. It is similar in composition to fellow gas giant Jupiter, though it’s not in the outer solar system which makes it a little warmer than Uranus and Neptune.
In conclusion, Saturn isn’t the largest planet in the solar system, but it makes any planet outside of Jupiter look tiny as the second largest. However, this is a bit of an illusion as unlike the terrestrial planets, most of Saturn is actually made up of gas, in the same way that fellow gas giant Jupiter is primarily made up of gas too.
So although it is very large, it isn’t solid like most of the other planets, and actually has a similar composition to the Sun, which most of the same elements.