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2.Topic 7-Video 2

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Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun. 9 times the size of Earth, and orbited by scores of moon. And, strangely, a planet encircled by glimmering sings of rock and ice. Why does the planet Saturn have so many unique features? So many oddities not found on other planets... Welcome to Space School! Saturn, named for the Roman God of the harvest, since prehistoric times, able to be seen with the naked eye. It was the most distant of the 6 known planets. In Hindu Astrology, Saturn or Shani was known as the Judge among the Gods in the Heavens. Ancient Chinese Astronomers referred to it as the Earth Star. Then in 1610, Galileo peered up at Saturn through his telescope, opening a window into this mysterious world. He discovered the planet's, now, infamous rings. Then within just a few decades, other astronomers discovered the first of Saturn's many moons. Saturn has a small and very dense solid core comprised of ice and rock. It's surrounded by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen. The outer layers consist of Helium, molecular Hydrogen, traces of Water, Methane and Ammonia. Unlike most other planets, Saturn has no definable surface. Instead, there was a gradual transition from a gaseous atmosphere to a liquid interior. Saturn is not only one of the largest planets, it is also one of the brightest. It's core is extremely hot, reaching over 21000 degrees Fahrenheit. Infact, Saturn radiates 2.5 times more energy into space than it receives from the Sun. That energy is generated by the gradual cooling of this gas giant. As it cools, the pressure drops, and the planet compresses to compensate for the change. This compression is what heats up the core. Saturn's distance from the sun, Nine Hundred Million Miles. When we gaze out into the cosmos at Saturn, it appears to be pale yellow. But, what we are actually seeing is not the planet itself, but, its cloudy atmosphere. Distinctive coloured bands are the result of different layers of atmosphere encircling the planet. And, despite the fact that the planet emits heat, temperature high up in the Saturn sky average a frigid -250 degrees Fahrenheit. Saturn rotates faster than any other planet, except Jupiter. One day lasts just 10 hours and 33 minutes. Scientists doubt that any form of life could exist in this inhospitable world. With no solid surface, and an atmospheric pressure so great that it squeezes any gas into a liquid, the conditions are simply too harsh. Even landing a spacecraft on Saturn would be all but impossible, as the pressure would crush and destroy it. Huge storms churn up the atmosphere. One of the biggest is nicknamed the Dragon Storm. Appearing like a massive white cloud in the Southern hemisphere, it produces dramatic white plumes, and even emits radio waves. It also has some of the fastest winds found anywhere in the Solar System, with speed reaching over 1100 miles per hour. That is almost 6 times stronger than the most destructive hurricane force winds on record. Other extreme weather, rainstorms, snowstorms, even lightning are found all across the planet. The oddest thing about Saturn is the existence of its famous rings. These rings stretch for a hundreds of thousands of miles out into space. But, surprisingly they are only a few miles deep. They appear to be a continuous band, but, are actually composed of millions of tiny particles, each in an independent orbit around the planet, made up of mostly water ice, as well as dust and rock. These particles vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a car. The ice in the Saturn's rings is highly reflective, making them easily visible from Earth, but, only through a telescope. The origins of Saturn's rings have long been debated. But, today most scientists agree that they are the remnants of an ancient moon of Saturn which somehow crumbled. It's remains are now orbiting the planet. Saturn takes 29 and half Earth years to orbit the Sun. Saturn has more known moons than any other planets, except Jupiter. 60 of them! Many of those moons have been discovered just within the past two decades. And, more are being found every year. So, that number may soon grow. Most too small asteroid sized bodies orbiting the planet at a huge distance, as far away as 10 million miles. But, one moon, Titan is the size of Mercury, and the second largest moon in the Solar System after Jupiter's Ganymede. It is also the only known moon to have a significant atmosphere. Some scientists believe that Titan's thick Methane-rich Nitrogen atmosphere is similar to that of a young Earth. But, unlike Earth, Titan's frigid temperatures... liquid water, the key to life, almost certainly doesn't exist there. Landing a spacecraft on Saturn, with current technology is out of the question. But, on July 1st, 2004, the Cassini-Huygens mission put a spaceship into an orbit around the ringed planet. It was a first, and the satellite is till operational. Peering down on Saturn, it's exploring the planet, its atmosphere, rings and moons. But, the Cassini probe also carried on-board something else; another flying machine, The European Space Agency's Huygens Probe. This craft landed on the moon Titan, on January 14th, 2005, and survived for several hours, for longer than planned. It sent back valuable data, and detailed photos about this Earth-like celestial body. And, in July 2008, scientists announced a ground-breaking discovery. Images sent from Cassini showed lakes of liquid Ethane, making Titan the only other body, besides our own Earth, to have liquid on its surface. Scientists are hopeful that this giant moon, with an atmosphere similar to a young Earth, might just hold the secrets to the origins of life right here on our own planet. But, despite these recent discoveries, this planet Saturn, remains one of the Solar System's greatest mysteries. This is Space School. Signing Off. Class dismissed.

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Posted by: pgtranscribes on Apr 23, 2015

2.Topic 7-Video 2

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