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Name: Evan R.
Status: student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 10/16/2004


Question:
Is it possible to take samples of Saturn's gases? And how does it stay in the shape of a sphere?

It is possible to determine the major components of the gases present on planets, including Saturn, from the sunlight that is reflected by the planet's atmosphere. Of course a satellite orbiting the planet could sample the atmosphere directly.


Replies:
-- All planets and stars are approximately spheres because they are held together by the force of gravity. The force due to gravity is the same in all directions. When you work out the math of this behavior of gravity the result predicts that the planet or star should be spherical. In reality these bodies are a bit fatter at their equators than at their poles but this is a small effect.

Vince Calder



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