Saturn's Rings Sparkle with X-rays

Chandra_296_1024

chandra_296 June 27th, 2005

Credit: X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj

Chandra images reveal that Saturns rings sparkle in X-rays (blue dots in this X-ray/optical composite). The likely source for this radiation is the fluorescence caused by solar X-rays striking oxygen atoms in the water molecules that comprise most of the icy rings. As the image shows, the X-rays from the rings mostly come from the B ring, which is about 25,000 kilometers wide and is about 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) above the surface of Saturn (the bright white inner ring in the optical image). The apparent concentration of X-rays on the morning side (left side in the image) could be due to additional solar fluorescence from clouds of fine ice-dust particles that are lifted above the surface of the rings by meteoroid impacts on the rings.

Image Source: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/saturn_rngs/

Curator: Chandra X-ray Observatory, Cambridge, MA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/image_use.html

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Saturn's Rings
Subject - Solar System
Planet > Type > Gas Giant
Planet > Ring

Distance

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue Chandra (ACIS) X-ray (X-ray) 826.7 pm
Arrow_left_red Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (H-alpha) 658.0 nm
Arrow_left_orange Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (V-band) 550.0 nm
Arrow_left_green Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (OIII) 502.0 nm
Arrow_left_blue Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (B-band) 439.0 nm
Spectrum_xray1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_red
Arrow_top_orange
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_blue
Chandra_296_1280
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ID
296
Subject Category
A.1.1.2   A.1.5  
Subject Name
Saturn's Rings
Credits
X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj
Release Date
2005-06-27
Lightyears
1.2e-4
Redshift
1.2e-4
Reference Url
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/saturn_rngs/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Chandra, Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, Hubble
Instrument
ACIS, ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC
Color Assignment
Blue, Red, Orange, Green, Blue
Band
X-ray, Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
X-ray, H-alpha, V-band, OIII, B-band
Central Wavelength
0.8267, 658, 550, 502, 439
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Chandra X-ray Observatory
URL
http://chandra.harvard.edu
Name
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Email
cxcpub@cfa.harvard.edu
Telephone
617.496.7941
Address
60 Garden St.
City
Cambridge
State/Province
MA
Postal Code
02138
Country
USA
Rights
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/image_use.html
Publisher
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Publisher ID
chandra
Resource ID
saturn_rngs_xray_opt.tif
Metadata Date
2012-07-26T10:20:30-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.