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Date: Prior to 1993


Question:
What are the rings of Jupiter composed of?



Replies:
Jupiter's rings are made up of fine dust particles (average size a few microns (that is tiny!), in contrast to Saturn's rings, which are made up of mostly pebble-to-boulder size objects). And unlike Saturn's rings (which are composed primarily of ice), Jupiter's rings are made of rocky material (in powdered form). It appears that this ring material escapes after some time and so must be continually replenished, possibly from meteor bombardment of some of Jupiter's moons or perhaps from material ejected by volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.

Four of the planets of our solar system -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune -- have rings. These are the so-called "gas giants", and it is probably no accident that only these planets have rings.

Ronald Winther



It used to be thought that only Saturn had rings until the Voyager missions gave us our first close-up views of the other gas giants.

John Hawley


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