Gossamer Rings

Main Ring



Fig. 6.48. A schematic cut-away view of the components of Jupiter's ring system showing the geometry of the rings in relation to Jupiter and the small inner satellites, which are the source of the dust that forms the rings. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell University)

incident light is scattered by particles in the ring, the 'main' ring is thought to contain a significant population of micron-sized particles, ranging from micron-size to tens of micron-size [478]. Modeling suggests that ring particles drift inward towards Jupiter and are eventually lost to the planet's atmosphere [479]. Both gravitational and magnetic forces are thought to control the ring system [480].

Evidence of Jupiter's rings was first obtained by particle flux measurements made by the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. Conclusive proof was not obtained until the Voyager 1 spacecraft imaged the main ring in March 1979. Voyager 2 took additional images and revealed the hint of a broad ring outside of the main ring, now known as the gossamer ring. A wider, more diffuse halo ring was also detected orbiting interior to the main ring [481]. The Galileo spacecraft later confirmed the existence of the outer gossamer ring [482, 483]. Three small inner moons were also discovered during the Voyager encounter with Jupiter. These moons are called Thebes, Adrastea, and Metis [484, 485]. These inner moons, along with the inner £

moon Amalthea, not only supply the material for the rings, but also shepherd and £

help define the limits of the rings. The ring neighborhood where Jupiter's ring ^ ¡X

resides also contains several small lumpy satellites, or "collisional shards" as Burns o ^

The halo ring is the innermost component of the ring system and is a cloud of fine particles that bloom vertically at the main ring's inner boundary and contin

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