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The main differences between Saturn and Mercury is that Saturn is a yellow ringed gas giant more than 50 times the diameter of Mercury, that has 82 moons whilst also being the 6th farthest planet from the Sun whilst Mercury is a terrestrial planet with no moons and the planet closest in proximity to the Sun.
There are numerous other differences between the two, so continue reading if you want a more detailed breakdown of each planet along with the similarities and differences between them.
What Is The Planet Saturn?
Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system that has 7 rings surrounding its gaseous exterior. It’s also the 6th farthest planet from the Sun.
As Saturn falls under the gas giant moniker, the planet is mostly made up of gases. However, Saturn’s composition is a little different from Jupiter’s where its atmosphere is a mixture of hydrogen and ices containing elements of Ammonia.
It’s core on the other hand is comprised of a dense core of nickel and iron, which is then surrounded by rocks compressed so strongly that it allows the planets core to reach scorching hot temperatures of 11,700+ degrees Celsius.
On the other hand, It’s gaseous atmosphere is far cooler. The exterior generally sits in the extreme sub zero range where Saturn’s temperatures averages around -138 degrees Celsius.
This is generally constant throughout the yellow ringed giants day to day. In fact it’s much colder than even the coldest place on Earth, which would be Eastern Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica that hits -94 degrees Celsius, which is more than 40 degrees Celsius warmer.
Being so large (116,460km), Saturn’s gravitational pull is obviously strong. That’s why over it’s 4.5 billion years of existence, beyond its rings, this yellow gas giant has managed to accumulate 82 different moons along with other smaller interstellar debris that now orbit it.
In fact it’s largest moon Titan is literally bigger than one of the 8 planets orbiting the Sun, Mercury.
Saturn also orbits the Sun but, as the 6th farthest planet from it, it does mean a singular orbit will take it 29.4 Earth years to complete. In comparison to its axial orbit which only takes 10.7 hours, this is exponentially longer.
What Is The Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the planet closest to our Sun and would fall under the terrestrial planet moniker. Out of the 8 main line planets Mercury is also the smallest, coming in at 4,879km.
This planet is known for having its fair share of craters, which is mostly down to its thinner non protective atmosphere that is unable to stop interstellar debris from striking its surface.
Despite its close proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet in our solar system but, it does come in second, just behind Venus. It’s surface temperature is around 430 degrees on the upper end with the average temperature around 167 degrees Celsius whereas its core is far hotter at around 1,600 – 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Due to it close proximity to our local star, Mercury is unable to sustain a moon around its orbit and even has a very unique rotation around the Sun where it has 3:2 orbital resonance with the Sun.
As for how long it takes for the planet to rotate around our yellow dwarf star, its the shortest time period of 88 days for obvious reasons, whilst a single day on the planet takes 58.65 Earth days to complete. Its axial tilt is only 2 degrees to the right, making it amongst the straightest planets in the solar system too.
Similarities Between Saturn And Mercury
Saturn and Mercury don’t have too many common features between them but, there are the odd few that can be pointed out, some of which include the below:
- Both planets orbit the Sun in a circular pattern.
- Both have a hotter central core.
- Both are a spherical in shape.
Differences Between Saturn And Mercury
As for the differences between Saturn and Mercury, they include the following:
- Saturn has 82 moons whilst Mercury has 0.
- Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun whilst Saturn is the 6th farthest. This means that Mercury has a 88 day orbital cycle around the Sun whilst Saturn completes an orbit in a much longer 29.4 years
- Saturn has an axial tilt of 27 degrees whilst Mercury’s tilt is 2 degrees.
- A day on Saturn takes around 10.7 hours to complete whilst a single day on Mercury can take 58.65 days to complete.
- Saturn is pale yellow in color whilst Mercury is dark gray.
- Mercury has a 3:2 orbital resonance with the Sun whilst Saturn does not.
- Mercury is far smaller than Saturn where it has a diameter of 4,879km whilst Saturn has a diameter of 116,460km.
- Saturn has 7 rings around it whereas Mercury has 0.
- Mercury is a terrestrial planet whilst Saturn is a gas giant.
- Mercury has a multitude of craters on its surface whilst Saturn cannot have crater on its surface due to its gas based composition.
- Saturn is far colder than Mercury where it has a temperature of around -138 degrees Celsius as opposed to Mercury’s average temperature of 167 degrees Celsius.
- Saturn’s core is much hotter than Mercury’s where it has a temperature of 11,700 as opposed to Mercury’s 1,600 – 3,000 degrees Celsius.
- Saturn’s atmosphere is much thicker than Mercury’s due to its gas based composition.
- Saturn’s magnetic field and gravitational strength are far stronger than what Mercury exhibits.
Saturn and Mercury differ quite significantly from one another, whether it be their temperature, size, composition, their magnetic field strength, gravitational field strength, the length of their days and beyond.
Yes, they are part of the same solar system and in turn orbit the same star, the Sun, however, despite these odd few similarities Mercury and Saturn have they are literally worlds apart in regards to how differently they function.