Rings of Uranus

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A picture of Uranus's ring system. Solid lines mean rings; dashed lines mean orbits of moons.

The rings of Uranus are planetary rings (circles of rock and dust) that go around the planet Uranus. There are 13 rings in total. In order of increasing distance from Uranus, they are: 1986U2R/ζ, 6, 5, 4, α, β, η, γ, δ, λ, ε, ν and μ.

Nine rings were found on 10 March 1977 by James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham and Douglas J. Mink. Scientists found two more rings in 1986 in images from the Voyager 2 spacecraft and two outer rings in 2003–2005 in images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Most of the rings are only a few kilometres wide and are very dark. Most rings are made of rocks 0.2–20 m wide. But some rings are made of very small dust particles. The closest ring is 38,000 km away from the centre of Uranus and the furthest ring is 98,000 km away.

Scientists think that the rings are at not more than 600 million years old. The ring system was created when several moons crashed together. After crashing, the moons broke up into many pieces and made rings.