All About Saturn

A stylized postcard illustration of Saturn.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn isn’t the only planet to have rings, but it definitely has the most beautiful ones. The rings we see are made of groups of tiny ringlets that surround Saturn. They’re made of chunks of ice and rock. Like Jupiter, Saturn is mostly a ball of hydrogen and helium.

Explore Saturn! Click and drag to rotate Saturn. Scroll or pinch to zoom in and out. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD)

When Galileo Galilei saw Saturn through a telescope in the 1600s, he wasn't sure what he was seeing. At first he thought he was looking at three planets, or a planet with handles. Now we know those "handles" turned out to be the rings of Saturn.

A cartoon Saturn smiling and saying, Everyone loves my rings.

Structure and Surface

  • Saturn is a gas giant like Jupiter. It is made mostly of hydrogen and helium.
  • Saturn has a thick atmosphere.
  • Saturn has a lovely set of seven main rings with spaces between them.

Time on Saturn

  • One day on Saturn goes by in just 10.7 hours.
  • One year on Saturn is the same as 29 Earth years.

Saturn's Neighbors

  • As of June 8, 2023, Saturn has 146 moons.
  • Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun. That means Jupiter and Uranus are Saturn’s neighboring planets.

Quick History

  • Saturn has been known since ancient times because it can be seen without advanced telescopes.
  • Four robotic spacecraft have visited Saturn, including Pioneer 11, Cassini, and Voyager 1 and 2.

What does Saturn look like?

A close up view of Saturn's rings. They are grey and tan, and there are spaces in between where you can see the black color of space through them.

The Cassini spacecraft took this picture of Saturn's rings. You can see the grey and tan colors.

A photo of Saturn with its rings at an angle pointing upwards. Next to Saturn are two white dots, which are moons.

This is a picture of Saturn and its moons Tethys and Dione. Voyager 1 took this picture as it passed by.

A photo of Saturn where it is backlit by the sun. Saturn and its rings are nearly black, and the sun is making the edges glow.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft went behind Saturn and took this picture in 2013. You can see seven of its moons and its inner rings. In the background you can also see Earth.

A photo of Saturn looking down on it, showing its rings clearly. The shadow of Saturn falls on the left side of the rings.

A portrait looking down on Saturn and its rings. This picture was made from images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2013. It was put together by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic.

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Planet Saturn Overview

article last updated March 15, 2024
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