Planets with Rings

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have rings. Named  after Roman and Greek gods, these planets are far removed from mythology via technology and exploration that have documented their place in Earth’s solar system and the rings in their place around each planet.

Four rings circle Neptune, the eighth planet from the sun in our solar system. It was thought that Neptune had only partial arcs until photographs taken by the Voyager II space probe revealed four complete rings. These photographs show denser collections of clumps of unknown matter scattered throughout these rings. This may be what gave viewers from Earth the illusion of arcs. The Inside Diffuse Ring is closest to the planet, followed by The Plateau, the Inner Ring and the Main Ring.

Nine major rings form ellipses around Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. The brightest ring, Epsilon, is the ninth ring from the planet. One theory for the composition of the rings of Uranus is that the rings are made up of a dark organic substance from outer space. The other is that the rings may be formed by frozen methane. Uranus rings are more elliptical than circular. Six of these rings have Greek alphabetical identifiers and two are numbered. From the outermost ring they are: Epsilon, Delta, Gamma, Eta, Beta, Alpha, 4, 5, and 6.

The sixth planet from the sun has seven rings. The rings around Saturn have alphabetical identifiers from A to G that indicate the order of discovery. In order from the planet, the rings are: D, B, C, A, F, G, and E. It is believed that ice and dust particles are the primary substance in these thin, wide rings.

Dust particles blooming from Meteor impacts on the surface of two of the planet’s inner moons form the main ring around Jupiter. It is not clear what formed the two Gossamer rings. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the closest ringed planet to earth. The three rings of Jupiter are very faint and were only discovered when Voyager II took photographs of the planet silhouetted by the sun.

The gas giants of Earth’s solar system are the ringed planets Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. These planets are known as gas giants due to their primary compositional elements of hydrogen and helium and their size compared to the earth. It is the gaseous composition of these planets that contributes to the formation of the rings around each.