Jewel of Our Solar System


    IntroductionSaturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in our solar system. Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets. It is not the only planet to have rings—made of chunks of ice and rock—but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's. Like fellow gas giant Jupiter, Saturn is a massive ball made mostly of hydrogen and helium.

    Surrounded by 53 confirmed and nine provisional moons, Saturn is home to some of the most fascinating landscapes in our solar system. From the jets of Enceladus to the methane lakes on smoggy Titan, the Saturn system is a rich source of scientific discovery and still holds many mysteries.

    The farthest planet from Earth discovered by the unaided human eye, Saturn has been known since ancient times and is named for the Roman god of agriculture and wealth. The Greek equivalent was Cronos, the father of Zeus/Jupiter.

    Ten Things to Know About Saturn

    Ten Things to Know About Saturn


    A Colossal Planet

    Nine Earths side by side would almost span Saturn’s diameter. That doesn’t include Saturn’s rings.


    In Dim Light

    Saturn is the sixth planet from our Sun (a star) and orbits at a distance of about 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) from the Sun.


    Short Day, Long Year

    Saturn takes about 10.7 hours (no one knows precisely) to rotate on its axis once—a Saturn “day”—and 29 Earth years to orbit the sun.

    Jewel of the Solar System


    Gas Giant

    Saturn is a gas-giant planet and therefore does not have a solid surface like Earth’s. But it might have a solid core somewhere in there.


    Hot Air

    Saturn's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).


    Mini Solar System

    Saturn has 53 known moons with an additional nine moons awaiting confirmation of their discovery—that is a total of 62 moons.


    Glorious Rings

    Saturn has the most spectacular ring system, with seven rings and several gaps and divisions between them.


    Rare Destination

    Few missions have visited Saturn: Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 flew by; But Cassini orbited Saturn 294 times from 2004 to 2017.


    Lifeless Behemoth

    Saturn cannot support life as we know it, but some of Saturn's moons have conditions that might support life.


    Add a Dash of Earth

    About two tons of Saturn’s mass came from Earth—the Cassini spacecraft was intentionally vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere in 2017.

    Saturn, Approaching Northern Summer

    Did You Know?

    Did You Know?

    Twice every 29 and a half years the great planet Saturn appears ringless. This is an optical illusion: Earthlings cannot see Saturn's rings when the rings are edge-on as viewed from the Earth. They are barely visible through powerful telescopes.

    Saturn's Rings Edge-on
    In one of nature's most dramatic examples of "now-you see-them, now-you-don't," NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured Saturn on May 22, 1995 as the planet's magnificent ring system turned edge-on. This ring-plane crossing occurs approximately every 15 years when the Earth passes through Saturn's ring plane. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/STScI

    Pop Culture

    Pop Culture

    Perhaps the most iconic of all the planets in our solar system, Saturn is heavily present in pop culture. It provides a backdrop for numerous science fiction stories, movies and TV shows, comics, and video games, including the Cthulhu Mythos, WALL-E, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Dead Space 2 and Final Fantasy VII. In Tim Burton's film Beetlejuice, a dusty, fictional Saturn is populated by giant sandworms. And in the 2014 movie Interstellar, the wormhole that enables the astronauts to travel to another galaxy appears near Saturn.

    Saturn is also the namesake of Saturday, arguably the best day of the week.

    Build Your Own 3D Glasses

    Build Your Own 3D Glasses

    With a few materials and a few steps, you can build your own glasses to view 3D images.



    The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini (e-Book)

    Exploring the Planets - Saturn

    NASA Planetary Photojournal

    National Space Science Data Center Photo Gallery - Saturn

    StarDate - Saturn

    Voyager: The Grandest Tour

    Voyager 2 Science Summary for Saturn

    Welcome to the Planets

    Power to Explore: Radioisotope Power

    Solar System News