Much-Reduced Glare

Much-Reduced Glare

Full-Res GIF (136 kB)

Caption:

Whenever Saturn’s rings appear nearly edge on as seen from Earth, observers take advantage of the much-reduced glare from the main bands to search for faint rings and satellites. Saturn’s E and G rings extend beyond the classical ring system in this infrared (2.27-micron) image obtained on 10 August 1995 by the Keck I telescope. The G ring is so faint it was never before seen from a ground-based telescope. The E ring’s brightness peaks very near the orbit of Enceladus, the moon believed to be responsible for its microscopic particles. Although not obvious here, the E ring gets wider vertically as the distance from Saturn increases.

Figure 16-21 of Burns, J. A. 1998. Planetary Rings. In The New Solar System, 4th Edition (J. K. Beatty, C. C. Peters, and A. Chaikin, Eds.), Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.