The Best of All Worlds

The Miss Universe competition has been a sham for decades now thanks to its Earthling bias. Everyone knows that the real Miss Universe is found elsewhere in our Solar System. God liked it, so he put a ring on it.

Behold: the planet Saturn.

Saturn features the largest and priciest hula hoop in the Solar System.
Saturn features the largest and priciest hula hoop in the Solar System.

As we move on from the gaggle of lousy and mediocre planets littering our Solar System, we arrive at one that I seriously considered for the #2 spot in my ranking of the eight planets.

Saturn is beautiful. Just look at her!

Indeed, the most beautiful of all billiard balls.
Indeed, the most beautiful of all billiard balls.

Now, we could drool all day over photos from the Voyager probes and the Cassini-Huygens mission. But for most of human history, no one had any idea that Saturn was so lovely. It was just another bright wandering speck in the sky that came to be known as a planet. Then finally, Galileo peered through his rudimentary telescope and discovered that this particular planet had a couple of lumps sticking out of the side. Christiaan Huygens had a better telescope and determined that these lumps were—improbably enough—rings! How bizarre an experience that must have been!

Saturn’s rings are composed of a bazillion little chunks of ice and rock, shepherded by a handful of tiny moons that zip around the gas giant. The rings are beautiful, but unfortunately, Saturn really only has two good moons. The first good moon is Mimas, because it looks like the Death Star. The second good moon is Titan, which contains 90% of the mass in orbit around Saturn (rings and moons included), is larger than the planet Mercury, and is the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere. Underneath the yellow smog lie several lakes of liquid methane and ethane, off limits to swimmers even during peak season.

As for Saturn itself, once you peel away the rings, you’re left with a planet that is unfortunately rather low in density, bland in appearance, and a little squashed looking. I’m the sort of guy who prefers planets with a lively and vivacious personality, so despite its serene splendour, Saturn only lands at #3 on my list. If you prefer to put Saturn at #2, that’s OK by me; just don’t hand this planet the Miss Congeniality award or anything.

One last look for you Saturn groupies out there!

I hear that angelic haloes are fashionable in Paris these days.
I hear that angelic haloes are fashionable in Paris these days.

Our rankings so far:

8. Venus
7. Mercury
6. Uranus
5. Neptune
4. Mars
3. Saturn
1–2. ???

How much airfare would you pay to go and watch a beauty pageant of all the planets? Let us all know in the comments below, and then vote for the BEST planet and the WORST planet in our Solar System!

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