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Uranus, rings





changes in the appearance of the rings of Uranus from 2001 to 2007
Infrared images showing the change in appearance of Uranus's rings as seen from Earth.
Credit: I. de Pater & H. Hammel/Keck Observatory


Uranus has a faint system of 13 narrow, elliptical-shaped rings, composed of dark dust and rocks up to about 10 meters in diameter. The ring system was discovered in 1977, during an occultation of a star by the planet. As the star first approached and then receded behind the planet it appear to blink off and on – a blinking found to be due to a system of rings. For more pictures of the rings, see Uranus gallery. See also Uranus, moons.


ring distance from center
of Uranus (km)
width of ring
(km)
eccentricity inclination
( ° )
R/2003 U2 97,700      
R/2003 U1 66,000      
Epsilon 51,149 20 to 96 0.00794  
Lambda 50,024 ~2 0. 0.
Delta 48,300 3 to 7 0.00004 0.001
Gamma 47,627 1 to 4 0.00109 0.000
Eta 47,176 1.6    
Beta 45,661 5 to 11 0.00044 0.005
Alpha 44,720 4 to 10 0.00076 0.015
Ring 4 42,571 ~2 0.001065 0.032
Ring 5 42,234 ~2 0.00190 0.054
Ring 6 41,837 1.5 0.00101 0.062
R/1986 U2 38,000      


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