Rings of Uranus as seen by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft

(ORDO NEWS) — The impressive image attached to the article (below) shows part of the Uranian ring system taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft in January 1986.

At the time of the photograph, Voyager 2 was 236,000 kilometers from Uranus’ atmosphere. Recall that Voyager 2 is the first and so far the last spacecraft to reach Uranus (the closest approach took place on January 24, 1986) and Neptune (the closest approach took place on August 25, 1989).

A sufficiently detailed image shows that the entire ring system of Uranus is filled with small dust particles, which, in the process of movement, form clear bands that remain invisible from other viewing angles.

All the rings known at that time fell into the frame of Voyager 2, but, of course, scientists observed the details for the first time.

It is believed that the age of the rings of Uranus is less than 600 million years, and now non-existent satellites are responsible for their formation, which once staged an “act of mutual destruction”, crushing each other into small fragments.

A few million years later, only macroparticles and dust remained from the satellites, which became the basis of the rings of the gas giant.

The exact chemical composition of the rings of Uranus is still unknown. However, there is no doubt that they are not composed of pure water ice, which, for example, is the dominant material of Saturn’s rings.

The rings of Uranus are too dark, even darker than the inner moons of the planet, which raises a lot of questions.

Rings of Uranus as seen by NASAs Voyager 2 spacecraft 2
The outer ring of Uranus, which is at the bottom in the top image. The amazing density of the material at a thickness of about 150 meters

A perfectly matched viewing angle and a 96-second shutter speed made it possible to make an image that expanded our knowledge of a world so far away that it is problematic to see even in an expensive telescope.


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