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Orbits of Jupiter's small inner satellites and rings

Orbits of Jupiter's small inner satellites and rings

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NASA / JPL / Cornell

Orbits of Jupiter's small inner satellites and rings
This schematic cut-away view of the components of Jupiter's ring system shows the geometry of the rings in relation to Jupiter and to the small inner satellites, which are the source of the dust which forms the rings. The innermost and thickest ring, shown in gray shading, is the halo that ends at the main ring. The thin, narrow main ring, shown with red shading, is bounded by the 16- kilometer-wide (10-miles) satellite Adrastea and shows a marked decrease in brightness near the orbit of Jupiter's innermost moon, Metis. It is composed of fine particles knocked off Adrastea and Metis. Although the orbits of Adrastea and Metis are about 1,000 kilometers (about 600 miles) apart, that separation is not depicted in this drawing. Impacts by small meteoroids (fragments of asteroids and comets) into these small, low-gravity satellites feed material into the rings. Thebe and Amalthea, the next two satellites in increasing distance from Jupiter, supply dust which forms the thicker, disk-like "gossamer" rings. The gossamer rings, depicted with yellow and green shading, are thicker because the source satellites orbit Jupiter on inclined paths.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about September 15, 1998

Explore related images: Jupiter's moons, Jupiter's rings, Jupiter's small moons, trajectory diagrams, Jupiter

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