Sci-Tech

Watch Saturn spin in a gorgeous NASA multi-day time lapse

Get up close and personal with Saturn in a Cassini movie showing four days in the life of the ringed planet.

Here on Earth, we wish we had 25 hours in a day. Since a day only takes about 10.5 hours on Saturn, there, we'd be dreaming about having 11. NASA's Cassini spacecraft patiently sat and recorded four full Saturn days in a row to make a fascinating time-lapse video.

At first, Saturn seems pretty quiet, but fortunately we have some NASA footnotes to guide our journey. The space agency points out oval-shaped storms, the planet's shadow, its hard-to-see inner rings and the shadows those famous rings cast on the atmosphere. NASA also puts Saturn's size into perspective by noting that each side of the hexagonal cloud pattern on the planet's north pole is slightly wider than Earth. It's a humbling comparison.

Cassini captured the images for the time-lapse over the course of 44 hours in April. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted the video to YouTube on Thursday.

Saturn doesn't have the same visual contrasts as Earth does with its clouds, blue water, and green and brown landforms, but there's a stark beauty to the big planet and its expansive rings. Cassini just entered the final year of its Saturn mission, where it will get closer to the planet than ever before.