Guide to Space

Which planets have rings?

When Planetary rings step into a discussion, we usually think of Saturn and its fabulous system of rings. However, there are plenty of other planets surrounded by an orbiting disk in our Solar System. With the help of scientific studies elaborated by several space agencies, we were able to conclude what planets have rings and how many of them.

Saturn’s rings

The earliest rings to be discovered belong to Saturn. Despite having a pretty weak telescope, in 1610, Galileo Galilei was the first scientist to confirm the existence of Saturn’s rings even though he couldn’t analyze them well enough to describe them. In 1655 it was officially stated that the rings form a disk around the planet by Christian Huygens. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century when studies showed that in fact each ring is divided into smaller rings made of tiny particles composed by water and dust ranging in a matter of meters.

Saturn holds the most expanded ring system in our Solar System having 12 rings with 2 divisions.

Jupiter’s rings

A fly test around the planet conducted by the Voyager1 space probe around 1980 discovered Jupiter also has rings. The disk is made of 4 main rings: Gossamer, Amalthea, Thebe, and Metis. Because the rings are mostly composed of dust, only high-quality telescopes and orbital spacecrafts can detect them.

Uranus’ rings

It is believed that Uranus’ rings are the youngest with the age of 600 million years old and that their origin comes from the fragmentation of a moon chain that once existed on The Solar System. So far, studies have detected 13 rings most of which are opaque and just a few kilometers wide. Anyhow, the majority of them can be seen with Earth-based telescopes.

Uranus’ rings are the youngest with the age of 600 million years old

Neptune’s rings

After the successful test of the Voyager1 space probe from 1980, another flyby around Neptune in 1989 has discovered six rings described as faint and shaky. The rings have a dark shade and are composed of an organic amalgam proceeded by radiation. Only 4 of Neptune’s rings form an orbit around the planet.

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