|Click to see table in miles|
Closest to Saturn, and very faint. Voyager 1 detected three ringlets within the D Ring named D73, D72 and D68. Cassini images show D72 as much fainter and 200 km closer to Jupiter.
A wide, faint ring estimated at only 5 metres (16 feet) thick.
Embedded near the inner edge of the C Ring.
Embedded near the outer edge of the C Ring.
Unlike the C Ring, the B Ring has no gaps. It is the widest of all the rings, except the extremely nebulous outermost E Ring, and the brightest. Images from Voyager showed some previously unseen "spokes" running across the ring's diameter. Current theory explains them as microscopic dust particles held away from the ring by electrostatic repulsion. They are thought to be seasonal, appearing around the time of Saturn's equinox, then disappearing in summer and winter. There also appears to be a secondary periodic waxing and waning over a 29.7 year cycle coinciding with Saturn's orbit.
Due to its width, the Cassini Division has been known since 1675. Particles on the inner edge of the Division are in a 2:1 orbital resonance with the moon Mimas resulting in a distinct edge rather than a progressive lowering of particle density. The Cassini Division comprises a series of gaps separated by very faint rings, including the Huygens, Herschel and Leplace Gaps amongst many others.
Another large, bright ring, estimated at 10 to 30 metres thick. The A Ring extends outwards from the Cassini Division to the orbit of Saturn's moon Atlas. Over 150 very small moons, around 100 metres across, have been found in the Ring, causing strange "propeller" shaped disturbances. The Ring contains two notable gaps, the Encke Gap, caused by the orbit of the moon Pan, and the narrower Keeler Gap, caused by the moon Daphnis. Particles at the outer edge of the A Ring are in a 7:6 resonance with the moons Janus and Epimetheus, again leading to an abrupt cutoff for the Ring edge.
A wide division between the A Ring and the F Ring. It contains a sheet of tenuous material.
A narrow but highly dynamic ring, that is maintained by the two shepherd moons Prometheus at the inner edge, and Pandora the outer edge. The material of the ring gyrates with knots and twists caused by the gravitational interactions with the shepherd moons, as well as, possibly, a number of very small moonlets.
|G Ring||While faint and fairly narrow, the G Ring has a bright arc near its inner edge, some 250 km across and extending about 60 degrees around the circumference of the ring. It is centered on the small moon Aegaeon. Dust erupts from the surface of Aegaeon from meteoroid impacts and replaces the material in the arc that is lost. Similar arcs have been found near the moons Methone, Anthe and Pallene.|
The widest ring starts near the orbit of Mimas and extends almost to the orbit of Rhea. The moon Enceladus orbits within the ring, and is thought to contribute the material of the ring from the eruptions known ro occur at its south pole.