Saturn is one of the most fascinating planets to professional and amateur astronomers alike. Much of our interest in the planet comes from its distinctive and iconic ring structure. Though not visible to the naked eye, anyone with even a weak telescope can make out the impressive rings. Though we may see the structures as one, massively wide ring orbiting around the planet, Saturn’s ring system is made up of a variety of different rings, all varying in density, thickness, and width. (The largest ring we’ve found is 12 million miles (7.4 million kms) wide.)
Made up primarily of ice water, Saturn’s rings are held in orbit by the complex gravitational influences of the gas giant and its moons – some of which are actually located within the rings! The facts about Saturn’s rings are made ever more vivid and real when accompanied by the pictures taken by countless telescopes and passing spacecraft. While we have learned much about the rings since they were first discovered 400 years ago, we are constantly improving our knowledge. (The furthest ring was only discovered a decade ago.) Be inspired with their beauty and majesty in these 25 Facts and Stunning Pictures About Saturn’s Rings.