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Saturn: Many-Ringed Splendor
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Presented in partnership with George Mason University Observatory

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0322
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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A Hubble Space Telescope view of Saturn, 2019 (NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL Team)

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second-largest planet in our solar system. Adorned with thousands of beautiful rings, Saturn is unique: Other planets also have rings made of chunks of ice and rock, but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's. Like fellow gas giant Jupiter, Saturn is a massive ball made mostly of hydrogen and helium and therefore does not have a solid surface like Earth.

Few missions have visited it: Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 flew by, and Cassini orbited Saturn 294 times from 2004 to 2017 before being intentionally vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere. Jonathan Fortney, director of the Other Worlds Laboratory and department chair in astronomy and astrophysics at University of California, Santa Cruz, explores what is known about Saturn and what else scientists are hoping to discover.

Series Information

The Grand Tour of the Solar System series treks to the Sun and the four inner terrestrial planets before traveling outward to the asteroid belt, four Jovian planets, and beyond. At each session, a professional astronomer explores a solar system body, presenting the latest research.

Following the talk and a question-and-answer period, Peter Plavchan, a professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, brings that night’s sky right into participants’ living rooms via remote control of the university observatory, weather permitting.

Learn about the Series

Additional Grand Tour of Solar System Programs

General Information

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