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What are planet rings made of?
Question Date: 2005-12-08
Answer 1:

Planetary rings consist of millions of separate small rock and ice particles, each maintaining their own orbit around the host planet. From a distance they appear to be a continuous, solid ring.

The rings of Jupiter are made of dust, which probably was knocked off of its moons by meteorite impacts.

Saturn has hundreds of multi-colored rings. However, the rings are not solid but made of very fine dust, rock and ice particles. The ice causes them to glisten.

The rings of Uranus are made of larger ice boulders several meters across, and quite a bit of dust. The rings of Uranus are made of darker stuff than Saturn's rings, probably dirtier ice. We don't know for sure where the rings of Uranus came from. They might come from moons torn apart by the planet's gravity, or they could have formed as the planet formed.

Neptune's rings are even more mysterious. Neptune has a set of four rings which are narrow and very faint. The rings are made up of dust and ice particles thought to have been made by tiny meteorites smashing into Neptune's moons.


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