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
Adrastea, 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.

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