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Rainbow Rings | Space Wallpaper

Saturn’s Rainbow Rings
This colorful space wallpaper portrays a section of Saturn’s beautiful rings, four centuries after they were discovered by Galileo Galilei. Saturn’s rings were first observed in 1610. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado)

This colorful space wallpaper portrays a section of Saturn’s beautiful rings, four centuries after they were discovered by Galileo Galilei. Saturn’s rings were first observed in 1610. Despite using his newly created telescope, Galileo was confounded by what he saw: he referred to the peculiar shapes surrounding the planet as “Saturn’s children.” Only later did Christiaan Huygens propose that the mysterious shapes were actually rings orbiting the planet. These 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 variation in the color of the rings arises from the differences in their composition. Turquoise-hued rings contain particles of nearly pure water ice, whereas reddish rings contain ice particles with more contaminants.

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.