Saturn is an impressive planet, even though it’s not quite the grandiosity of Jupiter. The extensive and bright ice rings surrounding the planet make it an object of fascination for many people. Although Jupiter has some ring activity going on, Saturn has more. It is very interesting to know that we may be seeing the rings of Saturn at a particularly bright period and that they will wane over the next several million years. It is a bit mind-blowing to think about how short and yet how long a time-span these rings are particularly bright due to impacts with Saturn’s icy moons. We are lucky, in a sense, to exist in this time so as to see the rings in a bright state.

That Saturn has Titan as its moon is also of intense interest. Titan seems to be another possibility for finding life outside of Earth in our solar system. The fact that it has such a dense atmosphere and liquid (even if it’s not water)on its surface is exciting. Its weather patterns which are similar to those on Earth also add to the excitement. I hope that we are able to find out a whole lot more about this planet-like moon in my lifetime.

As for Holst’s music regarding Saturn: It starts out so slowly and quietly that it almost seems ominous—like something is creeping forward. It doesn’t seem to pick up much at all until the slow growth in dynamics which begins about half-way through the piece. This gradual increase in volume and intensity doesn’t reach its climax for a couple minutes after it begins; it plods along like an elephant walks.In fact, the pace is relatively slow and steady all the way through. I could almost describe the feeling of the piece as vaguely sinister, but I’m a on the fence on that. I’m not convinced of it being sinister, but it is definitely eerie. It reminds me of the hands of time marching forward wearily and slowly, which is appropriate if Saturn is the bringer of old age. The part at the end after the momentary break in music does sound a lot more hopeful and bright. It’s lovely, really. I can envision new life—as if the piece goes from old age into new life.

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