Discovered by William Herschel in 1782.
The Saturn Nebula is a very unusual planetary nebula. It derives its name from its shape that resembles the planet Saturn with its rings seen edge on. The nebula is small with a diameter of 36 seconds of arc. It, however, has an extended halo that reaches to approximately 100 seconds of arc. The distance to the nebula is not known with any degree of accuracy. The range of estimated distances is from 2,400 to 3,900 light years. The Sky Catalogue 2000.0 places its distance at 2,900 light years and SEDS places it at 2,400 light years.