Clearly the coolest of planets, Saturn really has it all: rings, lots of fascinating moons, a great red spot, and a really cool name. Next to Saturn the other planets look like a bunch of glorified asteroids.
When you think of strange worlds floating in space a mental image of this planet immediately springs to mind. Why is that? It’s because Saturn has a classic look. It rotates on a fashionable 27 degree tilt, causing its classy rings to summon thoughts of an old time private detective wearing a tilted stetson during a particularly intense investigation. The planet’s rocky core is hidden beneath thick obscuring clouds, lending an additional sense of secrecy to its already mysterious nature. It is a fascinating astronomical enigma, and it beats the pants of of Pluto any day of the week.
A while back I stumbled across mp3s of the Huygens proble landing on Titan, Saturns most celebrated moon. Listen and Marvel to the unearthly splendor of the sensors’ electronic confusion. Gasp at the terrifying speed and uncertainty of its unearthly decent. Shiver as you imagine the murderous -290°F temperature cutting against the tiny probe’s thin metal skin. Does extraterrestrial drama get any better than this?
I suppose there is some other pretty cool stuff out there that really gives Saturn a run for its money. The Horsehead nebula is always an amazing sight. Supernovae are endlessly overwhelming. But in its planetary weight class Saturn is a clear champion. The only thing that would make it better is if you could actually stand on its gaseous surface long enough to enjoy the experience instead of sinking immediately into it and being sucked down to the planet’s frightening core. Saturn, you’re such a tease!