Jovian Jewelry

New pictures explain Jupiter's mysterious rings

If the solar system has a glamour world, Jupiter--with its brilliant colors, vast size and fruit fly-like swarm of 16 moons--has always been it. The planet appeared more elegant still in 1979, when the Voyager space probes discovered that it is circled by a fine set of nested rings.

No one knew the origin of the Jovian rings, but astronomers assumed they were either the pulverized remains of a small moon that had been destroyed by a collision or the raw material of an incipient moon that had never had the gravitational muscle to pull itself together. Last week they reached...

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