Rings of Jupiter


Jupiter’s ring system is so faint it was more than 350 years after the planet was first discovered that it was found to have any rings at all. The rings of Jupiter are also known as the Jovian ring system.

Rings of Jupiter were first observed 350 years after the planet’s discovery.

Moons of Jupiter Picture

Facts about the Rings of Jupiter

Ring Name: Ring Name: 1979 J1R (“Halo”)
Distance: 100,000 – 122, 800 km
Width: 22,800 km

Ring Name: 1979 J2R (“Main”)
Distance: 122,800 – 129,200 km
Width: 6,400 km
Mass: x 1013 kg

Ring Name: 1979 J3R (“Gossamer”)
Distance: 129,200 – 214,200 km
Width: 85,000 km

The distance is measured from the planet center to the start of the ring.

Jupiter has faint, dark, narrow rings composed of tiny rock fragments and dust. They do not contain ice, like Saturn’s rings. Jupiter’s rings are continuously losing material and being resupplied with new dust from micrometeors hitting Jupiter’s four inner moons (Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, and Thebe). 


Jupiter’s rings was first observed in 1979 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft and it was studied in the 1990s by the Galileo orbiter. It has also been observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and from Earth. Ground-based observations of the rings require the largest available telescopes.

Jupiter Spacecraft viewing rings:

Voyager 1 and 2 Galileo

Viewing Rings

Unlike Saturn’s rings, which are clearly visible from Earth even through small telescopes, Jupiter’s rings are very difficult to see.

How many rings are there? 


Other Planet with Rings

They are believed to  have been created largely from meteoritic impacts on some of Jupiter’s many moons and they’re composed mainly of dust particles as opposed to the icy, rocky debris that encircles Saturn.

Jupiter’s Main Rings

The main ring begins almost 130,000 kms (81,000 miles) above the centre of the planet and extends outwards a further 7,000 kms (4,350 miles). Inside the nmain ring are two of Jupiter’s 64 known moons, the small Adrasta and Metis, thought to be the primary culptites of the majority of the dust opresent in the main ring.

Between the main ring and the cloud top of Jupiter known as the halo, on a faint cllection of maternial 10,000 kms (6,200 miles) wide. Outisde the 


Jupiter’s ring system is faint and consists mainly of dust. It is in three sections: the Main ring, a Halo that orbits closer to Jupiter, and a 

1. The Halo Ring – orbits closer to Jupiter (cloud-like).

2. The Main Ring – narrow and thin

It is 6,400 km wide an less than 30 km thick. This very thin ring has a mass of about 10 13 kg. The ring is about 7,000 km wide; it starts at 122,800 km from the center of Jupiter and has an abrupt outer edge 129,130 km from the center of Jupiter. Two small moons, Adrastea and Metis, orbit within the Main ring; they may be the source of the dust in this ring.

It is a faint, wide ring that has the shape of a doughnut. It is about 22,800 wide and is about 20,000 km thick. This ring starts at 100,000 km from the center of Jupiter; the outer edge of the Halo merges into the Main ring.

3. The Gossamer Ring – very wide Gossamer ring that extends far from Jupiter. – very transparent

Gossamer Ring has two parts: the Amalthea Gossamer Ring (closer to Jupiter) and the Thebe Gossamer Ring.

It is a very faint and very wide ring. It consists of two rings, one embedded within the other. It is composed of very tiny particles, the microscopic debris from the moons, Amalthea and Thebe. The Gossamer ring starts at 129,000 km from the center of Jupiter and extends beyond the orbit of the moon Amalthea. 

The ring is now known to be composed of three major components. The “Main” ring is about 7,000 km wide and has an abrupt outer boundary 129,130 km from the center of the planet. The main ring encompasses the orbits of two small moons, Adrastea and Metis, which may act as the source for the dust that makes up most of the ring. At its inner edge the main ring merges gradually into the “Halo.” The halo is a broad, faint torus of material about 20,000 km thick and extending halfway from the main ring down to the planet’s cloudtops.

You can see Jupiter with your own eyes?

Saturn’s rings are mostly made of ice. Jupiter’s rings are different – they are very dark and difficult to see. They are made up of small bits of dust.

The rings have an albedo of 0.05; they do not reflect very much of the sunlight that they receive. 

Did you know?

Jupiter’s rings are thought to have been formed a sa  result of meteorites colliding with the planet’s moons.


Jupiter Odyssey: The Story of Nasa’s Galileo Mission by David M. Harland
From Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Shoemaker by Levy by David H. Levy
From Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

The Giant Planet Jupiter by John H. Rogers
From Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Rings of Jupiter Links:

NASA’s JPL Photojournal: Jupiter’s Inner Satellites and Ring Components (Image reference: 30 December 2011)


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