JPL Planetary Photojournal Catalog #PIA01621
|Galileo Reveals Process Behind Formation of Jupiter's
September 15, 1998.
The Galileo spacecraft, now in orbit around Jupiter, returned images
revealing new details of the giant planets' rings. The rings consist
of an inner main ring and two outer Gossamer rings. Scientists now
believe the rings are formed as asteroids and meteors, pulled in by
Jupiter's massive gravitational field, strike the planet's inner satellites
kicking up dust and debris. This dust and debris enters Jupiter's
orbit at much the same distance and orientation as their source satellites.
Scientists therefore believe Almathea and Thebe are the main source
satellites for debris forming the Gossamer rings, while debris from
the satellites Adrastea and Metis likely formed the inner main ring.
©2002 National Air and Space Museum