We know that in the vastness of the solar system there is a real beauty, distinguished by a luxurious system of rings. Of course, we are talking about the magnificent planet Saturn. But not many people know that rings can be found around other worlds, albeit not so large. Where to looking for?
The phenomenon of rings in celestial bodies
Rings are formed from dust and ice. It is believed that these are residual materials from the creation of planets and satellites, which are held by the gravity of a celestial body and rotate around it along the equatorial plane. You'd be surprised, but such “decorations” can be found not only near Saturn, but also among the rest of the gas and ice giants.
Moreover, the rings have a dwarf planet Haumea, asteroids Chiron and Harilko, and can also be at Rei (the moon of Saturn). It is likely that the rings were once at Earth and one day will appear at Mars (its satellite Phobos will be destroyed in orbit). Let's take a closer look at the rings of our giants.
Since this is the most obvious option, we start with the sixth planet from the Sun. For the first time these rings were observed even in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, who used his own telescope, seeking to magnify an image 20 times. But the astronomer did not understand what he was looking at, and decided that it was a question of satellites or unknown planetary appendages. About rings Christiaan Huygens spoke first (his telescope magnified 50 times) in 1656. The dark gap (slot) in 1675 found Giovanni Cassini, which was named after him. Several missions were sent to Saturn, but the most remarkable was the flight of the spacecraft Cassini.
The device started in 1997 and arrived at the planet in 2004. He not only revealed a lot of new information about Saturn, but also made several spans between the rings, sending high-quality photos and detailed composition.
Rings are represented by particles whose size reaches from micrometers to tens of meters (rare specimens). In composition, water ice and a small amount of silicate dust were observed.
For the first time, possible rings were discussed in 1960. The basis of the study camets, which could come from the ring of Jupiter. For the first time they were able to fix in 1979 when Voyager-1 flew past the planet . A detailed overview provided the passage of the ship Galileo in the 1990s.
It is believed that the system appeared due to the volcanic activity of the satellites, like Io. It is important to note that these are weak rings, represented mostly by dust. There is a main ring and two outer ones. The material from Adrastea and Metis satellites is being replenished. The particles are incredibly small. The width of the main ring is 6500 km, and it is pulled to 129 000 km from the planet.
Rings of Uranus
This system, by difficulty, stands in the middle between the rings of Jupiter and Saturn. In 1977 James Elliot managed to immediately find 9 rings. In 1986 the span of the ship Voyager-2 demonstrated two new rings, and already in 2003-2005. The space telescope review Hubble opened two more.
Interestingly, even two centuries before the actual discovery , William Herschel reported that he sees rings around the planet. True, modern scholars think that he instigated, since they are too weak to observe in the instruments of that time.
So, Uranus has a system of 13 rings, the radius of which ranges from 38000 km to 98000 km. In the review, they seem incredibly dark, so the composition should be based on water ice and organic materials. Not so many meters are drawn in width, and among the particles there are both centimeter and meter objects.
There are 5 rings around the eighth planet. The outermost starts at a distance of 63000 km from Neptune. It is believed that the first ring was found in 1968, but it was only confirmed in 1984. Then the planet passed in front of the star, and the rings blocked part of the world. Additional weak rings were noticed when the spacecraft Voyager-2 flew in 1989. Then they do not know how the system appeared, but they indicate the gravitational influence of the nearest satellites. The composition includes ice particles with silicates or carbon material. It is worth noting that these rings are changing and in the next hundred years one arc can disappear.
Now you know that rings are quite common in our system. Of course, the main highlight is Saturn. True, there are fears that one day they will disappear. Therefore, have time to admire their beauty, while there is an opportunity.