Pastel Rings

The rings of Saturn have puzzled astronomers since Galileo Galilei discovered them with his telescope in 1610. Detailed study by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft in the 1980s only increased the mystery.

There are billions of ring particles in the entire ring system. The ring particle sizes range from tiny, dust-sized icy grains to a few particles as large as mountains. Two tiny moons orbit in gaps (Encke and Keeler gaps) in the rings and keep the gaps open. Other particles (10s to 100s of meters) are too tiny to see, but create propeller-shaped objects in the rings that let us know they are there. The rings are believed to be pieces of comets, asteroids or shattered moons that broke up before they reached the planet. Each ring orbits at a different speed around the planet. Information from NASA’s Cassini mission will help reveal how they formed, how they maintain their orbit and, above all, why they are there in the first place.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


Posted 6 months ago with 3,917 notes
Tagged:AstronomyspacescienceCassiniringsNASAplanet

  1. regurgitatedinternetz reblogged this from kenobi-wan-obi
  2. larissaelayne reblogged this from spaceplasma
  3. lokii reblogged this from spaceplasma
  4. ikipr reblogged this from sphinxinsilence
  5. jania-marie reblogged this from the-science-of-time
  6. auturgy reblogged this from thescienceblog
  7. juss-livin reblogged this from scarredwristsandrazorblades
  8. agonzalezp reblogged this from multiverseofawesomeness
  9. happiestbuddha reblogged this from multiverseofawesomeness
  10. multiverseofawesomeness reblogged this from imfreshlysqueezed
  11. cosmic-microwave-background reblogged this from aimlessinspace
  12. sleepingbeauty1 reblogged this from deepspaceobjects
  13. fuck-you-all-to-hell reblogged this from dystope
  14. hitchhikerphillup reblogged this from scarredwristsandrazorblades
  15. and-then-she-grew-up reblogged this from scarredwristsandrazorblades
  16. scarredwristsandrazorblades reblogged this from dystope
  17. dystope reblogged this from astro-stoner
  18. gbyehorses reblogged this from martinscorsese
  19. walkingouttahere reblogged this from martinscorsese
  20. goldnfyre reblogged this from crumblybutgood
  21. jumpintothefuck reblogged this from spaceplasma
  22. theodoreii reblogged this from thescienceblog and added:
    This is a turn on.
  23. woodzy86 reblogged this from abcstarstuff
  24. blamatron reblogged this from trustcaptainplanet
  25. greasyjonny reblogged this from stefy76
  26. mademoisellepremed reblogged this from thescienceblog
  27. marinerzz reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  28. strawberrywarrior reblogged this from thescienceblog