Jupiter's faint rings as imaged by Voyager 1. Image credit: NASA

Jupiter's faint rings as imaged by Voyager 1. Image credit: NASA

Greetings, Earthlings!

Let's take a look at the faintest rings in the Solar System- Jupiter! That's right- Jupiter has incredibly faint rings (not as glorious and large as Saturn's)!

Jupiter's rings were discovered by Voyager 1 in 1979 as the probe whipped around the Jupiter system and looked back to take final pictures of Jupiter backlit by the Sun. What it found instead were faint dust particles forming a ring around Jupiter. As more probes looked at these rings, from the Galileo probe and the recent New Horizons probe, these rings are formed very similar to Saturn's. Although instead of forming from a torn-apart planet (supposedly like Saturn's), it has been formed by small asteroids and cometary dust. 

These rings, also like Saturn's. form "regions", or concentrations of the rings with breaks in between. How these regions are formed is still unknown!

The 3 parts of Jupiter's ring system are: Halo Ring (innermost), Main Ring (thickest), and the Gossamer Ring (houses two moons, Amalthea and Thebe).

The cool part is that these rings can be found in the infrared as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope!

Hopefully, the very recent Juno probe (and other future probes) will look more into the ice chemistry and formation of these rings!

Jupiter and its rings in the infrared imaged by Hubble. Image credit: NASA

Jupiter and its rings in the infrared imaged by Hubble. Image credit: NASA

Thank you for reading and next week- Titan's mysterious Labyrinths!