Jupiter's Main Ring

Jupiter's Main Ring

Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Cornell University

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00657


A mosaic of four images taken when the Galileo Spacecraft was in Jupiter's shadow peering back toward the Sun. The arc on the far right of the image is produced by sunlight scattered by small particles comprising Jupiter's upper atmospheric haze. The ring also efficiently scatters light, indicating that much of its brightness is due to particles that are microns or less in diameter. Such small particles are believed to have human-scale lifetimes,that is, very brief compared to the solar system's age.

Jupiter's ring system is composed of three parts - a flat main ring, a halo interior to the main ring, and the gossamer ring, which lies outside to the main ring. Jupiter's main ring is a thin strand of material encircling the planet.