Since Saturn's axis is tilted as it orbits the
Saturn has seasons, like those of planet Earth ...
but Saturn's seasons last for over seven years.
So what season is it on Saturn now?
Orbiting the equator, the tilt of the
of Saturn provides quite a graphic seasonal display.
Each year until 2016, Saturn's rings will be increasingly apparent
after appearing nearly edge-on in 2009.
The ringed planet
is also well placed in evening skies providing a grand view
as summer comes to Saturn's northern
hemisphere and winter to the south.
The Hubble Space Telescope took the above
of images about a year apart, starting on the
left in 1996 and ending on the right in 2000.
Although they look solid, Saturn's Rings are likely
less than 50 meters thick and
consist of individually orbiting bits of ice and rock ranging in size from grains of sand to barn-sized boulders.
R. G. French
and The Hubble Heritage Team