Jupiterís rings

Jupiterís rings

Fig. 9.27 . The upper atmosphere of Jupiter and the planetís main ring can be seen when the Sun is behind the planet, and an imaging spacecraft is in Jupiterís shadow peering back toward the Sun. In such a configuration, very small dust-sized particles are accentuated so both the ring particles and the smallest particles in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter are highlighted. It is somewhat like looking back at a movie projector in a dusty theater or at a bright light in a smoky room, which permits you to see the dust or smoke in the air. The small particles in Jupiterís rings are believed to have human-scale lifetimes, and must be continuously replenished if the ring persists. In addition to the flat, main ring, Jupiterís ring system includes a toroidal halo interior to the main ring and a gossamer ring, which only become visible when images are overexposed with respect to the main ring. This image was taken on 9 November 1996 from the Galileo spacecraft. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Cornell U.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University