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This is a drawing showing the earth's atmosphere going around.
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Image from: Random House Atlas

Motions in Saturn's Interior

Motions in the interior of a planet help carry heat from the inside to the outside of the planet.

The drawing shows a kind of movement that is usual in the atmosphere as well as the inside of a planet. Material moves the way water does in a pot that is boiling. In the drawing, there are three different red sheets of activity where the air is turning over.

In the interior of Saturn, the liquid layers are warm enough to move this way. Motions like this in the liquid metallic hydrogen layer inside Saturn cause the big magnetosphere of Saturn.


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Cool It! Game

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The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Saturn, right under the atmosphere, is a layer of liquid hydrogen!. The air becomes thicker and thicker, like a dense fog, with more and more liquid drops, until the hydrogen...more

A Look at Saturn's Magnetosphere

Saturn's magnetosphere is not as big as Jupiter's, but it is still pretty big. It is big enough to hold all of Saturn's moons. The shape of the magnetosphere is affected by its size. The shape is also...more

A Look at the Inside of Saturn

The Giant planets do not have the same kind of layers inside that the earth-like planets do. The history of the giant planets was so different that they formed with much more gas on the inside. Saturn...more

The Layers of Saturn's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets, only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. The gases which Saturn is mostly made of change to liquid inside Saturn, but the change is...more

An Overview of Motions in Saturn's Atmosphere

The most important motions in the atmosphere are winds. The major winds in Saturn's atmosphere are the zonal winds which are made of zones and belts. Zones and belts blow in opposite directions around...more

Saturn's Belts and Zones

The clouds on Saturn, like Jupiter, are divided into stripes called "belts and zones". In a belt, very powerful winds blow one way. In a zone, very powerful winds blow the other way. These kinds of winds...more

The position of Saturn when gas changed to ice

The position of the planets in the solar nebula affected how big they became and what they were made of. The blue line in the picture shows where it became so cold that ice began to form. Planets that...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA