Saturn facts: How many moons does the planet have?

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SATURN is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, behind Jupiter.

But how many moons does the planet have? Here's all you need to know…

How many moons does Saturn have? 

Saturn has 82 moons. 

However, only 55 of these moons are confirmed and named.

Another 29 moons are awaiting confirmation of discovery and official naming. 

These moons rangle massively in size from the giant moon, Titan which is bigger than the planet Mercury to others which are as small as a sports arena.

Titan, the planet’s largest satellite, has a rare molecule with a similar chemical structure to DNA in its atmosphere, astronomers say.

This means it may have the ideal conditions to support alien life.

The finding suggests a salty ocean beneath Titan’s icy crust may ­contain further building blocks of life, potentially making it a paradise for fledgling ETs.

Rosaly Lopes, a Nasa research scientist, said: “We’re trying to figure out if Titan is habitable.”

The experts say the types of molecules that may sit on Titan’s surface could be the same ones that formed the building blocks of life on Earth billions of years ago.

Back then, when methane filled Earth’s air instead of oxygen, conditions could have been similar to those on Titan today, scientists suspect.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, behind Jupiter.

Like Jupiter, Saturn is a giant gas planet and is composed of similar gases including hydrogen, helium and methane.

What are Saturn's rings made of? 

It’s thought Saturn’s rings are made up of pieces of comets, asteroids, or shattered moons that broke up before they reached the planet.

They are made of billions of small chunks of ice and rock coated with other materials such as dust.

Each ring orbits at a different speed and the rings extend up to 175,000 miles out from the planet.

The rings are named alphabetically in the order that they were discovered.

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Can you see Saturn from earth?

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible for much of the year.

Neptune and Uranus are not visible – and of course the eighth planet in our solar system is Earth itself.

Planets look different to stars because their brightness varies in a cycle over a period of time and they are close enough to Earth to look like a tiny disk whereas stars look like a point of light.

Saturn and Mars are commonly mistaken for stars during their dimmer periods, according to Naked Eye Planets.

Stars also generate their own light whereas planets do not. Planets shine by reflecting a portion of the sunlight they receive back into space.

The brightness of the planet depends on its distance from the sun, the size of the planet and the position of the planet and Earth.

Planets can be seen during a period called apparition. Mars, Mercury and Venus can be seen during dawn or dusk when in this period.

Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the dawn sky. Apparitions can last a few weeks (in the case of Mercury) to almost two years (in the case of Mars).

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