Saturn and its rings at infrared wavelengths

Saturn and its rings at infrared wavelengths

Fig. 10.7 . Because Saturnís rings are made of water ice, they reflect relatively large amounts of sunlight at an infrared wavelength of 3.8 micrometers (blue). Methane in Saturnís outer atmosphere absorbs radiation at this wavelength, but the incandescent globe has its own internal source of heat that makes it shine brightly at the longer infrared wavelength of 4.8 micrometers (orange). The heat welling up from within Saturn is partly due to helium raining inside of the planet. (Courtesy of David Allen, Anglo-Australian Telescope Board © 1983.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University