ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Observations of Saturn and its rings made in the 17th century prior to Huygens. I: Galileo (1610); II: Scheiner (1614); III: Riccioli (1641-1643); IV-VII: theories of Hevelius; VIII-IX: Riccioli (1648-1650); X: Divini (1646-1648); XI: Fontana (1636); XII: Gassendi (1646); XIII: Fontana and others (1644-1645). The rings were first detected by Galilei Galileo in 1610. They appeared to him as 'ears' or lobes on either side of the planet. The Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens first proposed that Saturn was surrounded by a solid ring in 1655. This artwork is from Huygens' 1659 book 'Systema Saturnium' (Systems of Saturn).
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