Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Pioneer 11 approaches Saturn

Filed under pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Pioneer 10 and 11, global views, Saturn, Saturn's rings

Go Back

Pioneer 11 approaches Saturn On approach to Saturn on September 1, 1979, Pioneer 11 gazed on the unlit northern face of the rings. Cassini viewed Saturn at similar season in early February 2009.

NASA / Data from NASA Ames / processing © Ted Stryk, Roane State CC

Copyright holder: Ted Stryk

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder. Original image data dated on or about September 1, 1979

 

Other Related Images

Comments:

Skip: 04/05/2013 12:17 CDT

Beautiful! I was wondering, could a rocky planet have rings? Or is there something unique about gas planets that enables them to have rings? I wonder what the rings would look like from the surface of the mother planet.

DanManX: 04/05/2013 01:16 CDT

As far as I'm aware, it's more about the mass of material in orbit around the planet that determines rings. Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter have a lot of moons and other material, which is pulled by the planet's gravity into the ring pattern (and usually "shepherded" by the moons to keep a certain shape and pattern). I believe one of the goals of New Horizons is to search for possible (very faint) rings around Pluto, so it must be possible, just rare.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!