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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is a drawing of the transition from the atmosphere to the interior.
Click on image for full size
NASA

The Structure 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 very gradual. Therefore the giant planets do not have strict layers, as the earth-like planets do.

The liquid sections of Saturn form by far the largest portions of the planet, and penetrate very deep into the planet. The first liquid layer inside Saturn, immediately under the atmosphere, is the liquid hydrogen layer. Under the liquid hydrogen layer is a liquid metallic hydrogen layer.

At the far interior is the core of Saturn.


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The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Saturn, right under the atmosphere, is the liquid hydrogen layer. The hydrogen atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker, like a dense fog, with more and more liquid droplets,...more

An Overview of Saturn's Interior

The Giant planets do not have the same layered structure that the terrestrial planets do. Their evolution was quite different than that of the terrestrial planets, and they have less solid material. Saturn's...more

The Structure of Saturn's Interior

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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 are high pressure systems and belts are low pressure...more

Saturn's Belts and Zones

The striped cloud bands on Saturn, like Jupiter, are divided into belts and zones. In a belt, the wind flows very strongly in one direction only. In a zone, the wind flows very strongly in exactly the...more

The position of Saturn when gas changed to ice

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How a proto-planet sweeps up nearby material

As shown in this picture, while they were forming in the solar nebula, the nucleii of the planets-to-be (called protoplanets) drew material to themselves from the cloud of gas and dust around them. The...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