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Planetary Ring Systems

History, Structure Of The Rings

A peek at Saturn through a small telescope reveals the solar system's jewelry, a breathtaking system of rings. These rings consist of a large number of individual particles orbiting Saturn. The diameter of Saturn's ring system is about 167,670 mi (270,000 km), a little less than the distance between the earth and the Moon. Yet the rings are only a few hundred meters thick. Saturn has the only ring system that we can see directly from the earth. Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, do however all have ring systems. So rings do seem to be a common feature of giant gas planets.


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