History

Saturn has actually been known since prehistoric times due to the fact that it is quickly visible to the nakedeye. Not until the invention of the telescope, however, did people observe Saturn"s magnificentrings.

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Galileo Galilei to be the first to observe Saturn with a telescope in 1610. Because of the crudeness the his telescope, that couldn"t recognize what the ring were. He mistakenly guessedthat there to be two large moons on either next of Saturn. 2 years later on when he regarded Saturnagain, the "moons" had disappeared. We understand now this is since Galileo to be viewing the ringsedge-on so that they were invisible, but at the time it was an extremely confusing to Galileo. Afteranother two years, Galileo regarded Saturn again and also found the the "moons" had actually returned.He concluded that the rings were "arms" of some sort.

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Galileo & his drawingsTop drawing: Galileo"s illustration of Saturn, 1610Bottom drawing: Galileo"s drawing of Saturn, 1616

Many year later, in 1659, a dutch astronomer called Christiaan Huygens solved the mysteryof Saturn"s "arms." since of boosted telescope optics, he effectively deduced the the "arms" were in reality a ring system. Huygens also discovered Saturn"s moon, Titan, and also for thisreason, the probe exploring Titan is called after him.

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Christiaan Huygens

A few years ~ Huygens" discoveries, one Italian-French astronomer by the name of Jean-Dominique Cassini found 4 other major moons of Saturn: Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys, and Dione.In 1675, Cassini discovered a narrow space that splits Saturn"s ring system into two parts, andthe void has since been well-known as the "Cassini Division." due to the fact that of his plenty of contributionsto our knowledge about the planet Saturn, Cassini was favored as the surname of the spacecraftflying come Saturn.

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Jean-Dominique Cassini

Other significant discoveries came later. Throughout the 19th century, J.E. Keeler confirmed that the ring mechanism is no a uniform sheet however actually consisted of of little particles. Most recently,the Voyager spacecrafts (visiting in 1980-81) do discoveries around the composition and also interactionof the rings.