Saturn's Ring System


The rings of saturn were discovered in 1610 by Galileo using the first telescope. At first they were mistaken for companion moons, but 50 years after they were discovered Christian Huygens found that they were actually rings surrounding the planet. Scientists have been puzzled ever since this discovery. What is this magnificent feature of Saturn made up of? How was it created, and how does it stay in place?

The rings have a maximum thickness of only 1 to 2km, which is about .6 to 1.2 miles. Voyager has shown the rings to be highly structured, more so than scientests thought when we could only observe from a telescope. The particle density changes over distances of hundreds of meters, but individual particles, whose estimated sizes range from tens to hundreds of centimeters, have not been resolved.