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Put a ring on it: All giant planets in our solar system have them

Most people think that only Saturn has rings. Some know that Uranus too, even though they often aren’t drawn in illustrations, has rings.

However, they aren’t the only ones. Jupiter and Neptune also have rings. Even some moons, like Saturn’s moon Rhea, and asteroids can have rings.

Let’s take a look at rings that exist on the planets in our solar system.

Illustration of solar system

Jupiter

Jupiter’s rings can’t be seen from Earth, because they are so faint. They were first discovered by Voyager 1 in 1979 when it went past Jupiter and viewed the rings backlit by the sun.

These rings are made of small dust particles thrown into space by micro-meteor impacts on Jupiter’s small moons. The impacts are so small that the dust gets caught in orbit, and it’s constantly being replenished by more impacts.

Saturn

Saturn’s rings are the most well-known and are made up of chunks of ice and rock coated with dust.

Saturn has seven main rings — called A, B, C, D, E, F and G — as well as a faint outer ring in the orbit of Saturn’s moon Phoebe. The rings extend 175,000 miles from the planet and are about 30 feet tall.

Uranus

Uranus has two sets of rings for 13 total rings. They were first discovered in 1977 but are difficult to see because they are relatively dark. They are thought to be made of large chunks of dust, some up to 20 meters wide.

Neptune

Neptune has five rings that were proven to exist in 1989 by Voyager 2. They are made up of dust and fine rock, and they are also difficult to see because they are so dark.

Scientists think the rings may have been created when a moon was destroyed.

 

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