How Big Is Saturn, And Can It Really Float In The Bath?

Saturn is the second-largest planet in our solar system after Jupiter.

However, Saturn is so far away from us that the sixth planet from the Sun looks like a bright star in the night sky to the unaided eye. Despite its huge size, you’ll need a decent planet-watching telescope or powerful binoculars for astronomy to see it’s famous rings.

And, bizarre as it may seem for such a colossal world, we’ll be considering whether it could float in a bathtub of water if one big enough to accommodate its girth existed. 

Let’s take a look.

How Big is Saturn?

As the famous analogy goes: If Earth were the size of a nickel, Saturn would be a little larger than a volleyball. 

The gas giant is 75,000 miles (120,000 km) in diameter, which is almost ten times greater than Earth’s diameter! Even so, a day on Saturn lasts just 10 hours 33 minutes. 

This is because the gas giant rotates at high speed, causing Saturn’s body to flatten at the poles and bulge near the equatorial regions. This is seen on Earth too, as well as other planets, but Saturn’s is the most pronounced.

Saturn’s mass, at 568.34 x 1024 kgs, is 96 times Earth’s mass. Its density, however, is just 0.687 grams per cubic centimeter, making it less dense than water

In fact, Saturn has the lowest density of any planet in our solar system.

Saturn’s volume, at 82,713 x 1010 cubic kilometers, is 764 times Earth’s volume. The table below shows the vital statistic for Saturn and Earth:

MetricSaturnEarth
Equatorial Radius58,232 km6,371 km
Volume (1010 km3)82,713108
Density (kg/m3)6875,514
Mass (1024 kg)5685.97

How Many Earths Would Fit Inside Saturn?

Let’s calculate the number of Earths that would fit into Saturn as measured by volume: 

Saturn’s volume = 82,713 x 1010 km3

Earth’s volume = 108 x 1010 km3

Number of Earths that can fit into Saturn = 82,713 x 1010 km3/108 x 1010 km3 = 763.59 = ~764 Earths. 

Therefore, we could fit roughly 764 Earths inside Saturn’s huge volume. 

Can Saturn Really Float in Water?

We saw above that the density of Saturn (0.687g/cubic cm) was less than that of water, which has a density of 1g per cubic cm.

So, as strange as it may seem, Saturn would most definitely float in a big enough bathtub filled with water!

Saturn is made up mostly of gases and has the lowest density among all the planets in our solar system. 

How Big are Saturn’s Moons?

Saturn has 53 confirmed and named moons with a further 9 being provisional. In total, Saturn has 62 known moons. Titan, which has a diameter of 3,200 miles, is Saturn’s biggest moon and the second-largest moon in our solar system. 

The next biggest in the moon family are Tethys (1,060 km), Dione (1,118 km), Rhea (1,528 km), and Iapetus (1,436 km). 

Summary

Saturn is the sixth planet from our Sun and the second-largest planet in our solar system.

A popular way to think of the gas giant’s size is to compare it with Earth: if Earth were the size of a nickel, then Saturn would be the size of a volleyball. It dwarves Earth’s measurements whichever way you consider it.

Saturn is also less dense than water, which is why it can float in a bathtub, provided there is one large enough to accommodate it!


Written by Sharmila Kuthuner