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.
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'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 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 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.
Pluto was first designated a planet in 1930 when it was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. The tiny planet is about two-thirds the diameter of Earth’s moon and most likely is made up of a rocky core surrounded by ice and coated with methane and nitrogen frost. It…Read More
We have some awesome updates to existing exhibits and some brand new exhibits coming up at winter projects. One of those is to turn our kids area into a space/night theme! (Celebrate winter with a craft stick snowflake) A few parts of the renovation are underway behind the scenes, and one is a project that…Read More
I remember when I first heard the word. Our environmental education coordinator was talking about nocturnal animals, and then stated that skunks aren’t always nocturnal but can also be crepuscular. “What?” Yes. Crepuscular. Cre-puss-cue-ler. It means simply that an animal is active at dawn and dusk. It’s not quite diurnal — meaning that it’s active…Read More
“Where is the hedgehog?” or “What is in the cage below the salamanders?” These are two questions we often get at the Dickinson County Nature Center, because what is in the cage below the salamanders in our lower level is an African pygmy hedgehog named Honey. And Honey is usually buried beneath one of her…Read More