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Big Band of Dust
10.07.09
 
a slice of Saturn's largest ring

› Dust ring diagram

This picture shows a slice of Saturn's largest ring, as seen in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The observatory viewed the ring edge-on from its Earth-trailing orbit around the sun. It detected the infrared light, or heat, form the ring's dusty material.

The ring has a diameter equivalent to 300 Saturns lined up side to side. And it's thick too -- about 20 Saturns could fit into its vertical height. The ring is tilted about 27 degrees from Saturn’s main ring plane.

The Spitzer data were taken by its multiband imaging photometer and show infrared light with a wavelength of 24 microns.

Spitzer image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Virginia