MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artwork showing the planet Neptune's main rings. The rings are composed of microscopic dust particles. They are narrow and contain clumps and kinks thought to be associated with tiny "shepherd" moonlets, too small to be detected directly. Similar narrow, dusty, braided rings have been detected around Saturn (the F-ring & Encke Gap ringlet) and Uranus (1986U1R). The rings are named after scientists who were instrumental in early research on Neptune, Adams, Le Verrier, Arago, Galle and Lassell. The outermost ring, Adams, was observed to have several bright sections or ‘arcs’, where the particle density was higher than normal. These have been dubbed Fraternité (brotherhood), Egalité (equality), Liberté (freedom) and Courage.
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