kids encyclopedia robot

Planetary ring facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Saturn in natural colors (captured by the Hubble Space Telescope)
The ring swirling around Saturn consists of chunks of ice and dust. The little dark spot on Saturn is the shadow from Saturn's moon Enceladus.

A planetary ring is a ring made of dust and other particles orbiting around a planet in a flat-disc shaped region. The gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are the only planets known to have rings, with the rings of Saturn being the most spectacular system of rings.

The rings sometimes have "shepherd satellites". These moons orbit either in between ring gaps or the outside edge of a ring. The moons' gravity maintain the rings current shape with a well defined edge. Any material that drifts closer to a Moon's orbit, it can either move back into the body of the ring, deflect out into space, or is added onto the Moon's surface.

The rings can be made of silica or water ice. It is not known how any of the rings were formed.

Visual comparison

Main Ring Galeleo forward PIA00538
A Galileo image of Jupiter's main ring.
A Cassini mosaic of Saturn's rings.
FDS 26852.19 Rings of Uranus
A Voyager 2 image of Uranus's rings.
PIA02202 Neptune's full rings
A pair of Voyager 2 images of Neptune's rings.
kids search engine
Planetary ring Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.