Astronomy Picture of the Day

Jupiter's Rings Revealed

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Jupiter's Rings Revealed

Why does Jupiter have rings?

Jupiter's rings
were discovered in 1979 by the passing
Voyager 1 spacecraft,
but their origin was a mystery.

Data from the
Galileo spacecraft that orbited
Jupiter from
1995 to 2003 later confirmed that these rings were created by
meteoroid impacts on
small nearby moons.

As a small meteoroid strikes tiny
for example, it will bore into the moon, vaporize, and explode dirt and dust off into a
Jovian orbit.

Pictured above
is an eclipse of the Sun by
Jupiter, as viewed from Galileo.

Small dust particles high in
Jupiter's atmosphere,
as well as the
dust particles that
compose the rings,
can be seen by
reflected sunlight.

Note: Meet
bloggers and APOD editor RN in Austin
this Tuesday night.

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