Saturn was the furthest planet from Earth in the known Solar System in 1655, and the crude telescopes available at the time revealed an enigma. At times, the planet looked like it had "handles" on either side, but at other times the handlelike bulges disappeared. Christiaan Huygens, born into a wealthy Dutch family of high status, was given an allowance by his father to do nothing but pursue his interest is mathematics, mechanics, optics, and astronomy (What a dad!). With a telescope much improved over earlier versions, he deciphered enough detail about far away Saturn to propose that the handles were actually rings encircling the planet, seen sometimes at an angle facing Earth, and at other times viewed edge-on from Earth to the point of becoming invisible.
KeywordsSolar System Liquid Hydrocarbon Impact Crater Hydrocyanic Acid Liquid Ethane
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