The Solar System

Gas Giants

How were Saturn’s rings formed?

We are still not sure how all of Saturn’s rings were formed. One idea is that the rings were once larger moons that were destroyed, either by collisions, or by tidal interactions with Saturn’s gravity tearing them apart. The bits of moons then settled into orbit around Saturn. At least one of the rings—the E ring—was produced when matter sprayed from one of Saturn’s moons outward into space and was then organized into a ring structure by gravitational interactions.


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