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Solar System
Saturn, the Sixth Planet

Solar System
Solar System

Saturn, the Sixth Planet
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.66

     challenging words:    helium, sprays, lightweight, poisonous, axis, hydrogen, telescope, liquid, halfway, bright, bits, atmosphere, however, core, rings, below
     content words:    But Saturn, If Earth

Saturn, the Sixth Planet
By Cindy Grigg

1     Saturn looks like a bright star in our sky at night. Unlike a burning star, Saturn glows because the sun's light reflects or bounces off it. Using a telescope, you can see its rings. It looks tiny from Earth, but did you know that Saturn is really, really big? Of our eight planets, only Jupiter is bigger. Saturn is about 95 times bigger than Earth. However, Saturn is a lightweight giant. Because the planet is mostly made of gases, it could float in water!
2     Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, about 886 million miles away. It takes Saturn about thirty years to make one trip around the sun. So a year on Saturn is about thirty Earth years! But Saturn turns quickly on its axis. A day on Saturn is only about ten and three-quarter Earth hours. Earth is about 746 million miles from Saturn at the closest point. If we could travel on a spaceship to Saturn, the trip would take at least three years. Since it is so far from the sun, Saturn is very cold. The temperature of the atmosphere is about 200 degrees F. below zero!
3     Saturn has no solid surface. It is called a "gas giant." The planet is made mostly of gas and liquid. Scientists think it has a solid, rocky core. Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune as gas giants, too. It is hard for scientists to know where the atmosphere ends and the liquid "surface" of Saturn begins. Unlike Earth's atmosphere, Saturn's has no oxygen for us to breathe. Instead, it is mostly hydrogen and helium. There are poisonous gases such as ammonia and methane, too. Frozen hydrogen clouds float in Saturn's atmosphere. The yellow and white striped clouds make Saturn look a little like a lemon meringue pie.

Paragraphs 4 to 5:
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