Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
February 5, 1997
Explanation: Jupiter has rings, too. Unlike Saturn's bright rings
which are composed of chunks of ice, Jupiter's rings
are darker and appear to consist of fine particles of rock. The
six pictures above
were taken in infrared light from the Infrared Telescope Facility
in Hawaii in 1994, and cover a time
span of two hours. Quite visible are Jupiter's rings,
bands and spots
in the outer atmosphere. Also visible
in the photos, however, are two small Jovian moons. Metis,
only 40 kilometers across, appears in the second picture as a
dim spot on the rings to the right of Jupiter. Amalthea,
much larger and brighter, appears in the third frame on the far left, and can
be seen to pass across the face of Jupiter
in frames four and five. The origin of Jupiter's rings
although hypothesized to be created by material scattered from
meteorite impacts onto Jupiter's moons.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.