Saturn's Rings as a Cosmic Rainbow

By Jamie Condliffe on at

You've never seen Saturn's rings like this before. Captured using Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph detector, it shows the rings in the ultraviolet spectrum—and the result is incredibly colourful.

The image shows the portion of the C-ring closest to Saturn on the left, with the B-ring beginning just right of centre. Incidentally, the rings were named in the order in which they were discovered, using the first seven letters of the alphabet: the D-ring is closest to the planet, followed by C, B, A, F, G and E. The different colours are a result of different constituents in the rings. Areas that are turquoise contain particles of nearly pure water ice; reddish rings contain ice particles with more contaminants. [ESA]