“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)


Saturn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 12, 2017
1. Saturn Marker
Inscription. Click to hear the inscription.  
Why does Saturn have "ears"? The 17th-century astronomer Christiaan Huygens was the first to suggest that the curious protrusions on both sides of Saturn were in fact a magnificent ring system. Scientists later discovered that the rings are made up of countless icy chunks of various sizes. Because Saturn's axis, like Earth's, is tilted, our view of the rings varies over a Saturnian year.

Like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant made of hydrogen and helium. Because it rotates so fast, its atmosphere bulges outward at the equator. Saturn has at least 60 moons. The largest, Titan, is bigger than Mercury.

Inside the Observatory
You can sometimes view Saturn and its rings and moons during nighttime observing hours here at the Public Observatory.

The image was taken through the Public Observatory-s 4-inch finderscope on June 1, 2013. The largest gap in Saturn's rings, the Cassini Division is visible.

Viewing Our Solar System:

The first three spacecraft to visit Saturn—Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2—merely flew past it. The fourth, Cassini-Huygens,
Saturn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 12, 2017
2. Saturn Marker
entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Cassini released the Huygens probe to study Titan. Cassini itself focused on Saturn: its atmosphere, rings, magnetic field, and moons. It also captured images of Saturn's auroras. After completing its primary mission, Cassini went on to study seasonal changes on Saturn. Cassini is a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency.

An artist's concept of Cassini orbiting Saturn.

As the Huygens probe descended toward the surface of Titan, it took these images of a river system on that large moon. With temperatures below 290F (170C), Titan's lakes and rivers contain liquid methane and ethane, not water.
ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

←In 2004 Cassini captured this mosaic of Saturn and its delicate rings.
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

How to Learn More:
Erected by National Air and Space Museum.
Location. 38° 53.273′ N, 77° 1.112′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker can be reached from Independence Avenue Southwest west of 4th Street SW when traveling west. Touch for map. On the grounds of the National Air and Space Museum on the side of the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20024, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Phoebe Waterman Haas (here, next to this marker); Moon (here, next to this marker); Venus (here, next to this marker); Jupiter (here, next to this marker); Binary Stars (here, next to this marker); Sun (here, next to this marker); Cook Telescope (here, next to this marker); Star Nurseries (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
Categories. Air & Space
Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 12, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 12, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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