Infrared Ring Around Saturn

spitzer_ssc2009-19a October 6, 2009

Creator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Source:

This diagram highlights a slice of Saturn's largest ring. The ring (red band in inset photo) was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which detected infrared light, or heat, from the dusty ring material. Spitzer viewed the ring edge-on from its Earth-trailing orbit around the sun.

The ring has a diameter equivalent to 300 Saturns lined up side to side. And it's thick too -- about 20 Saturns could fit into its vertical height. The ring is tilted about 27 degrees from Saturn's main ring plane.

The Spitzer data were taken by its multiband imaging photometer and show infrared light with a wavelength of 24 microns.

The picture of Saturn was taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Image Use Policy: Public Domain

View Options

Image Details

Image Type
Object Name
Subject - Solar System
Planet » Ring
Planet » Type » Gas Giant

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 11h 39m 39.4s
DEC = 4° 27’ 22.3”
North is 23.0° CW
Field of View
7.9 x 14.8 arcminutes

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_pseudocolor Spitzer (MIPS) Infrared (Mid-IR) 24.0 µm