Rings of Saturn

Rings of saturn


This close-up view of part of the rings of the planet Saturn was captured by the Cassini spacecraft in 2004. By using ultraviolet light reflected by the rings, scientists are able to see what kinds of materials are present. Here turquoise colours represent water ice while red indicates dust. The general pattern is that the ‘C’ ring (left) contains more dust and the ‘B’ ring, further out from the planet, is more icy. Saturn’s rings show a rich diversity of particle size and composition, mainly ice and silicates in fragments between 1 centimetre and 10 metres across. The rings are easily visible in a small telescope despite being between only 10 metres and 1 kilometre thick. This image spans about 35,000 kilometres.

Image © NASA/JPL/University of Colorado


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