Photos of the Sun

Jupiter Rings Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn

Jupiter Rings Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn

No, we have confused ourselves with the famous rings of Saturn. We are talking about Jupiter's rings, which we can see in the picture. While those of Saturn can be seen from Earth, even through telescopes of little scope, those of Jupiter are complicated to visualize. In fact, it is so complicated to see them that their existence was not known until 1970, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft discovered them.

Jupiter's rings are four. The innermost is Halo, which is a cloud-shaped ring. Next, there is the Main ring, which is quite narrow and very thin. It is followed by the Gossamer ring, which is almost transparent. This last ring consists of two parts: the Amaltea Gossamer ring, which is closer to Jupiter, and the Tebe Gossamer ring.

While Saturn's rings are composed mostly of ice, Jupiter's rings are made up of small dust particles. Thanks to the Galileo special ship, today we know that this dust comes from the meteors that collide with the surface of the smaller satellites of Jupiter, Metis and Adrastea. The detached dust enters orbit around Jupiter forming the rings.

The age of the Jupiter ring system is unknown, but it is believed that they may have existed since the formation of the planet. Following the initial observations of Voyager 1, Jupiter's rings have been studied by the Voyager 2 ship, the Galileo orbiter, the Cassini probe, the New Horizons probe and the Keck and Hubble telescopes.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn