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Jupiter, in pastel colors because the observation was taken in near-infrared light, experiences a rare alignment of three of its large moons; Io, Ganymede, and Callisto.

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Jupiter's Ring Formation Theories Confirmed

    How did Jupiter's Rings Form?

    Labeled image of Jupiter's Gossamer Ring.Jupiter's Gossamer Ring as seen by the Galileo spacecraft

    Image of Jupiter's rings taken by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew-by on its way to plutoNew Horizons spacecraft image of Jupiter's faint dust rings
    Jupiter's faint rings were first discovered by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1979, when it looked back at Jupiter and towards the Sun. They are so faint and tenuous, they are only visible when viewed from behind Jupiter and are lit by the Sun, or directly viewed in the infrared where they faintly glow. Unlikely Saturn’s icy rings full of large icy and rock chunks, they are composed of small dust particles.

    Early in its mission to Jupiter, the Galileo spacecraft made observations that provided confirmation on how Jupiter's rings were formed, as the dust was seen to coincide with small moon locations: the two Gossamer rings near the small moons Amalthea and Thebe and the main ring near Adrastea and Metis. Scientists had long believed that dust coming off of Adrastea and Metis formed the main ring, but were unsure of the origin of the Gossamer rings.

    Hubble mosaic infrared image of Jupiter showing its faint ring and the inner moon Metis. Jupiter's clouds, ring and even
    a moon can be seen in this
    infrared image taken by the
    Hubble Space Telescope
    Four of Jupiter's small inner moons Jupiter's Small Inner Moons,
    (l to r) Thebe, Amalthea,
    Adrastea, Metis

    Jupiter's rings are formed from dust particles hurled up by micro-meteor impacts on Jupiter's small inner moons and captured into orbit. If the impacts on the moons were any larger, then the larger dust thrown up would be pulled back down to the moon's surface by gravity. The rings must constantly be replenished with new dust from the moons to exist.

    Jupiter has a faint ring system with four main components: the halo ring, the main ring, and the two gossamer rings.Jupiter's Ring Structure and the Moons affecting it

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    the Rings of Jupiter,
    Saturn, Neptune and Uranus

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