rings of neptune

The rings of Neptune are quite strange

In the mid-1980s, scientists suspected there were rings around Neptune. But it was the images from Voyager 2, that really confirmed the theory. Voyager discovered the planet has a thin dusty ring system, unlike the ice/rock rings that encircle Saturn. As a matter of fact, Neptune’s rings are as high as 70% dust that has been baked by radiation. The rings are red in color, and thin.

In total, Neptune has 5 principal rings: Adams, Arago, Galle, Lassell, and Le Verrier. They take their names from Astronomers who did important work studying the planet. A sixth unnamed ring is very faint and lies within the orbit of Neptune’s moon Galatea. 

The Adams arcs

Within the rings are bright arcs, with the most prominent arcs within the Adams ring. The arcs with Adams are named: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Courage, and all clumped together.

There is a question as to why these arcs are so clumped together. Why wouldn’t they spread out like normal rings? The most likely theory among scientists is that the gravity of the moon Galatea stabilizes these arcs. So they just stay where they have always been.

There are still a lot of questions about Neptune and it’s rings, but someday Humans will send out probes to learn more about this strange world.