Starts With A Bang

The Incredible Rings Of Uranus, Jupiter And Neptune (Synopsis)

Image credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University, of the rings of Uranus from the shadowed (night) side of the planet.

“The phenomena of nature, especially those that fall under the inspection of the astronomer, are to be viewed, not only with the usual attention to facts as they occur, but with the eye of reason and experience.” -William Herschel

We typically think of Saturn as our Solar System’s ringed world, thanks to its huge, glorious rings spanning nearly three times the diameter of the planet from tip-to-tip. But the other three gas giant worlds have their own impressive ring systems, with Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune boasting four, thirteen and five rings, respectively.

A stitching together of two 591-s exposures obtained through the clear filter of the wide angle camera from Voyager 2, showing the full ring system of Neptune with the highest sensitivity. Image credit: NASA / JPL.

While Neptune and Jupiter’s rings are exclusively created and shepherded by their inner, tiny moons, Uranus has a system somewhere in between those worlds and Saturn’s, having been discovered from the ground years before the Voyager spacecraft ever arrived.

Jupiter and its rings, bands and other heat-sensitive features in the infrared. Image credit: user Trocche100 at the Italian Wikipedia.

Go get the full story in pictures, animations and no more than 200 words on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!