Rings All the gas giants have rings, though only Saturn's are opticallave rings, though only Saturn's are optically thick seen from earth. (Beware the beguiling solidity of the images of the Jovian, Neptunian and Uranian rings seen on Voyager imagery - these pictures have usually been image-enhanced to bring out the contrast. The rings are nothing like as bright or obvious, even in-situ, as they seem on these photographs.) The rings of Uranus and Neptune were discovered telescopically before space probes reached the planets, but it was only with the details Voyager images that we could appreciate their complex natures. The rings in detail are often seen to have fine detailed structure, with well-defined gaps and even in at least one case a "braided" structure. These fine features are often the result of resonance interactions with satellites either embedded within the ring system, or just outside the edges of it. These satellites are said to move in marshalling and shepherding orbits. See Lewis for images showing this behaviour in more detail.
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.