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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

The Saturnian and Uranian ring systems compared

Filed under pretty pictures, scale comparisons, planetary rings, Uranus' rings, optical telescopes, Saturn's rings

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The Saturnian and Uranian ring systems compared This schematic diagram shows the similarities between the outer parts of Saturn's and Uranus' ring systems. The two planets have been scaled to the same size for the purpose of the comparison.

de Pater et al. 2006

The inner parts of the ring systems are very different: Saturn's is broad and opaque, while Uranus' inner rings are very narrow. But two new rings of Uranus discovered in 2003, the inner "R2" and outer "R1" show similarities in color and relative position to Saturn's G and E rings, respectively. Saturn's blue E ring is thought to come from a moon, Enceladus, buried within it. Uranus' R2 ring is also blue and also has a moon, Mab, buried within it -- but Mab is far, far smaller than Enceladus.

Original image data dated on or about January 1, 2006.


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