The rings -Saturn's trademark. The beautiful and mysterious rings of Saturn are one of the most striking phenomena in our Solar System. They have a diameter of nearly 500,000 kilometres and are also extremely thin. Billions of swirling ice and rock particles orbit the planet at great speed, forming an intricate pattern. The image shows a bright band of the isolated C-rings (inside) and the B-rings to the left.
Scientists still don't know the age or origin of the rings but the Cassini mission at least provided an insight. On its arrival in July 2004, the spacecraft transmitted valuable data. High-resolution images were obtained during its pass through the ring plane, a cross-sectional profile was made using ultraviolet and infrared measurements and infrared images were obtained. Cassini discovered previously unknown smaller rings and moons in the single ring nearby.
The rings are composed mainly of water ice, rocks and dust, whose main ingredients are mineral silicates. With the spectrometer VIMS (Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer), traces of iron were detected. This corresponds to the material, present in the dark areas of the moons Phoebe and Iapetus; VIMS also found evidence of organic carbon-nitrogen compounds in the rings.