Saturn and Uranus are neighbors in our solar system. Saturn is the sixth planet away from the sun, while Uranus is the seventh. And both Saturn and Uranus are sandwiched in between Jupiter (Saturn’s other neighbor) and Neptune (Uranus’ other neighbor). Seeing as they’re closest together in their order away from the sun, how different are they? Or what about their similarities? Well, today, we’re going to compare these two mesmerizing planets of our great solar system: The Milky Way. Time to get started!
So, what are the main differences between Saturn vs. Uranus? The main differences between Saturn and Uranus are to do with their sizes, orbits, temperatures, and many other differing characteristics. Saturn is bigger than Uranus, and it’s also hotter, with a higher surface and core temperature. It also takes Saturn less time to orbit the sun compared to Uranus, as well as less time to rotate on its axis once. They both have moons, but Saturn has many more.
Whether it be in terms of size, temperature, number of moons, or how they look – these planets are quite different!
As we shall see in the following sections!
What Are The Differences Between Saturn and Uranus?
Saturn and Uranus are starkly different from one another when it comes to size, orbit, temperature, number of moons, number of rings, axle tilt, their aesthetic, wind speed, and magnetic field power.
So, quite a lot to split the two planets. It’s fair to say that there are definitely more differences between Saturn and Uranus than there are similarities.
One by one, we’re going to explore each of these key differences between Saturn and Uranus.
Size and Mass
There’s no fine margin when determining which is the bigger planet because there are clear differences when it comes to size and mass among all of the planets in our solar system.
When it comes down to Saturn vs. Uranus, it is, in fact, Saturn that comes out on top in the size department. This is the case on all fronts, which are diameter, surface area, and mass.
Saturn is actually the second biggest planet in our solar system, only second to Jupiter. Uranus doesn’t do too badly either, placing as the third biggest planet in our solar system.
But make no mistake, Saturn is bigger than Uranus.
Saturn has a diameter of 116,460km compared to Uranus’ diameter of a mere 50,724km. So there is a clear difference between the two.
Saturn has a surface area of 42.7 billion square kilometers, whereas Uranus has a surface area of 8.083 billion square kilometers. Again, a clear difference.
Finally, the same is the case when it comes to mass as well. Saturn has a whopping mass of 569,000,000,000 trillion metric tons compared to Uranus’ which is approximately 102 trillion trillion tons.
Orbit Of The Sun
As was mentioned in the introduction, Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun whereas Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun.
Distance from the sun plays a significant factor when it comes to orbit.
You might think that because these planets are neighbors, their orbit time will be similar. Well, guess again. As Saturn is closer to the sun, it takes less time for it to orbit it. Saturn takes about 29.4 Earth years to orbit the sun.
Uranus is further away from the sun. So, consequently, it takes the planet a humongous 84 years to orbit the sun just once.
So there is another clear difference when it comes to the amount of time these two planets take to orbit the sun.
There are two key temperature measurements to take for a planet. The first is surface temperature, and the second is core temperature.
On both counts, Saturn is the hotter planet.
Saturn’s surface temperature is approximately between -135 to -140 degrees celsius. Pretty cold, right? Well, not as cold as Uranus. On the surface of Uranus, the temperature is about -190 to -200 degrees celsius.
Saturn is still warmer at its core than Uranus. Saturn has a core temperature of approximately 11,700 degrees celsius, whilst Uranus has a core temperature of about 5,000 degrees Celsius.
Number of Moons
Nothing too confusing to worry about here. Both planets do have moons, but one has more than the other.
And that is Saturn, which has an impressive array of 82 moons. Uranus has 27 moons, which is still impressive.
When it comes to rings, Uranus actually, despite what some may believe, has more rings than Saturn.
The image of Saturn and its rings is famous to the point where some are misled into believing it’s the only planet with rings in our solar system. But this is wrong. Because Uranus actually has 13 rings, compared to Saturn’s 7.
Axel Tilt and Rotation
If you didn’t know already, not all planets tilt on the same axle. This is the case when comparing Saturn and Uranus.
Uranus has an axial tilt of 98 degrees, whilst Saturn’s is about 27 degrees.
Not only is this another clear difference between the two planets, but it also creates another difference, and that is that of how long it takes for these planets to rotate around its axis.
Uranus takes 17 hours to complete one rotation of its axis, whereas Saturn takes just 10 hours and 34 minutes to complete one rotation of its own.
Saturn appears with a pale yellow color. Uranus, on the other hand, is a beautiful cyan blue.
Wind speeds on planets other than Earth can be pretty spectacular. Saturn has the second fastest winds in our solar system. Winds here can reach as fast as 1,800 km/h. Uranus’ max wind speed is 900 km/h.
Uranus’ magnetic field is just a little bit stronger than Saturn’s.
Uranus’s magnetic field is at 0.23 gauss on average compared to Saturn’s, which is about 021 gauss on average.
What Are The Similarities Between Saturn and Uranus?
Saturn and Uranus share orbit patterns, shape, and similar chemical compositions; both have warmer cores than surface areas, cannot support human life, and therefore have never been visited by humans; both have multiple moons and rings, and finally, they’re both about the same age.
Despite all those major differences between Saturn and Uranus, they do share some similarities. Let’s quickly summarize all of them now.
As we learned in the previous chapter, it takes Uranus much more time to orbit the sun than it does for Saturn to do the same orbit.
However, the pattern that these planets’ orbit the sun remains the same.
Both Uranus and Saturn have circular orbits of the sun.
Both Gas Giants
Both Uranus and Saturn belong to the same planet family. They are gas giants (gas planets).
A gas giant is a planet composed of gases, primarily hydrogen and helium. Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter are the four giants in our solar system.
Despite this similarity, it is worth noting that Saturn is a less dense gas giant than Uranus.
FUN FACT: The other most common type of planet in our solar system is the terrestrial planet (also known as a telluric planet or rocky planet).
These are planets that are composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals. The other terrestrial planets in our solar system are Venus, Mercury, Earth, and Mars!
Both Have a Hotter Central Core
Saturn has a hotter core temperature than Uranus’ and a hotter surface temperature.
But what both these planets share when it comes to temperature is the fact that their cores are much warmer than their surface areas.
Both Are Spherical In Shape
Although there are vast differences between the two when it comes to size and mass, both Saturn and Uranus are spherical in shape.
Both planets have a gravitational pull force that interacts with the rest of the universe.
For both these planets, their gravitational pull ensures that their moons and rings continue to orbit it within close proximity.
Can’t Support Human Life
Do plan a space cation to either of these planets anytime soon, as both are uninhabitable for human life. In fact, no planet in our solar system, other than Earth, is habitable…without the right technology, of course. Much of which is yet to be invented.
There are various reasons why humans can’t visit these two planets, other than the fact that we can’t yet travel to them.
For a start, we wouldn’t be able to survive their hostile temperatures on our own.
There also isn’t any or enough oxygen on either planet to keep us alive and breathing.
Is Uranus Habitable? [The Answer May Surprise You]
Humans Haven’t Visited
Because we can’t travel to them yet, no human is yet to visit either of these planets. It’s as simple as that. Maybe one day, in a few thousand years.
Both Have Multiple Moons and Rings
Not all planets have moons. Not all planets have rings. Some have neither. But a special select few have both.
Saturn and Uranus are two of the lucky planets to be blessed with both multiple moons and rings.
Whilst they’re not exactly twins, Saturn and Uranus were created at a similar point in time.
They are both approximately 4.5 billion years old.
Whilst these two planets have much in common, it’s their differences that are the most fascinating.
And it would seem that when it comes to size, moons, and temperature, Saturn claims the higher figures. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the better planet.
I mean, Uranus’ cyan-blue aesthetic is mesmerizing beyond belief.
Uranus is colder than Saturn, by around -58 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 degrees Celsius). The surface temperature of Uranus is -310 to -328 degrees Fahrenheit (-190 to -200 degrees Celsius) compared to the -211 to -220 degrees Fahrenheit (-135 to -140 degrees Celsius) of Saturn.
Other planetary comparisons you may want to see:
- Saturn vs Earth [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Venus [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Mars [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Neptune [How Do The Planets Differ]
- Saturn vs Jupiter [How Do The Planets Differ?]
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.