JupiterFacts.net logo General Information & History Images Uranus Facts

Rings of Jupiter

Rings of Jupiter
Rings of Jupiter

Jupiter's ring system was first detected by the orbiter Voyager 1. Voyager 2 and Galileo were then tasked to take more detailed images of the ring. The ring system of Jupiter is composed of three parts: the "Main" ring, the "Halo" and the "Gossamer" ring. They are made up of micrometer-sized dust particles kicked up by Jupiter's inner moons.

The Halo is the innermost ring (closest to Jupiter) and is about 30,000 km wide and about 20,000 km thick. Its inner boundary extends to the tops of Jupiter's clouds, while its outer boundary extends halfway through the Main ring. It is characterized as being broad and faint. The Main ring is the brightest of the ring components and encloses the orbits of Adrastea and Metis, two small moons that may be a source of dust particles that comprises most of the ring. This ring is 7,000 km wide and abruptly ends at a boundary of 129,130 km from the center of Jupiter. The outermost ring component is made up of two Gossamer rings that are both wide but faint. They are named Amalthea and Thebe after the two inner Jovian moons whose orbit they enclose. The Amalthea Gossamer ring stretches from Amalthea's orbit 182,000 km away from the center of Jupiter to about 129,000 km, just within the Main ring. The Thebe Gossamer ring is the faintest of the ring system and overlaps with the Amalthea Gossamer ring. Its outer boundary just encloses the orbit of Thebe 226,000 km from Jupiter's center and stretches inward to 129,000 km from the center of Jupiter.