What's up with Saturn's rings? (NASA)
What's up with Saturn's rings?
Lexile

You asked us, "What's up with Saturn's rings?"
 
Although Saturn can be seen with the naked eye, its rings are invisible without a telescope. Galileo was the first to spot them in 1610.
 
And there are 7 creatively named rings that span up to about 175,000 miles wide, roughly 3/4 of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
 
The gigantic rings are super thin though, and some are just 30 feet high.
 
The rings look continuous, but they aren't, and they're made of billions of particles, from dust-sized frozen grains to much larger pieces of water ice and rocky particles wrapped in ice. The frozen grains whirl around Saturn in different orbits.
 
We don't know how the rings formed or when. It could have been as early as when Saturn came to be, or as late as when dinos roamed the Earth.
 
But we do know that the rings aren't static - their formation is a continuous process.
 
Thanks to tech like the probes we've been sending to Saturn since the late 1970s, we're making new discoveries all the time.
 
We're even identifying new rings like the 7.4-million-mile-wide behemoth that was discovered in 2009.
 
And that's just one of the many reasons why you've gotta love science.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How can particles appear as rings?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (37)
  • rorys-1-bar
    9/16/2015 - 05:59 p.m.

    Particles appear as rings when there is dust or big chucks of ice that create the illusion that they are rings.

  • gabriellek-1-bar
    9/16/2015 - 06:33 p.m.

    Particles can appear as rings because they are made of billions of particles, from dust-sized frozen grains to much larger pieces of water ice and rocky particles wrapped in ice. The frozen grains whirl around Saturn in different orbits causing the allusion of rings. I found this article interesting because I thought Saturn had rings but then to learn that it was just made of particles really surprised me.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    9/16/2015 - 07:34 p.m.

    I think this is cool to know because some people have to be reminded that Saturn's rings are made out of billions of particles ranging in size. It is very cool because it must have taken a really long time to form and some of Saturn's rings are only 30 feet tall. Recently, scientists have found out a ring that was 7.4 million mile wide ring on Saturn.
    How can particles appear as rings?
    Answer: Particles appear as rings because they are orbiting around the planet.

  • collinf-2-bar
    9/16/2015 - 08:05 p.m.

    The particles look like rings because they orbit Saturn in a circular motion.

    I was surprised that Saturn's rings are only 30 feet high.

  • madelinew-1-bar
    9/16/2015 - 10:14 p.m.

    The particles and icy substances that make up Saturn's rings circle, or rotate, around Saturn, giving the impression that there are rings.

  • jacks-6-bar
    9/17/2015 - 06:13 p.m.

    Particles can appear as rings because, from a distance, one's eyes can play tricks on them, blurring particles together into smooth, round rings. They are shaped like rings because the gravity from Saturn pulls them around it, and Saturn is round, so the particles, being formed around it, will be in a circular shape around the planet. The article was very interesting; I had no idea how massive Saturn's rings really were!

  • carlosp-6-bar
    9/17/2015 - 11:40 p.m.

    Particles can appear as rings because there are so many together that they look like they are joined and they are frozen and orbit Saturn.
    I think this article is very interesting because I don't know a lot about Saturn so I learn something new that the particles are frozen and they actually orbit Saturn.

  • jackw-4-bar
    9/18/2015 - 01:05 a.m.

    Particles can appear as rings by the particles getting frozen by ice and being pulled into Saturn's gravitational pull. I find this interesting, because I didn't know how Saturn's rings were formed.

  • dominicz3-
    9/18/2015 - 08:55 a.m.

    This article has to do with science because Saturn and its rings are part of the outer space and outer space is part of science. It also has to do with science to be because they are seeing what particles are floating around the rings

  • paytons-mil
    9/18/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    I think it's cool ring are around.I think the rings form when gas and air combined.I think it is insane how big and long the rings are. They are 30 feet up and thin wow that is amazing.I think we will discover more ring's someday.

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