March 4th 2019

On March 4th, 1979, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft took the first photos of rings around Jupiter. This was the first time anyone had seen Jupiter’s rings.

Because Jupiter’s rings are so thin and faint, it’s extremely difficult to see them from Earth with ground-based telescopes. Even for a spacecraft out near Jupiter, the rings are essentially invisible unless the cameras look at them edge-on or from an angle where sunlight shines directly through them.

Since Voyager 1 first saw the rings, other space missions like Juno and Galileo have continued to study them. Scientists believe that the rings formed by comets colliding with Jupiter’s moons and kicking dust into the planet’s orbit.