Jupiter has three rings.
More Info: The three rings that surround Jupiter are the main ring, the gossamer ring, and the inner halo. They are collectively known as Jupiter’s “ring system”. [“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA]
Jupiter’s rings were discovered when Voyager I was first launched into space in September of 1977. According to NASA, Voyager I along with the subsequently launched Voyager II were sent into space primarily to explore the planets Jupiter and Saturn. [“Voyager – Jupiter.” NASA]
When Voyager I first made its way around Jupiter, it sent back to Earth an image of Jupiter showing a ring system surrounding it, which was a discovery that NASA and other scientists did not expect to find. The initial image sent by the Voyager I showed Jupiter as having only a faint although darker ring system as compared to the planet Saturn. [“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA]
The Main Ring
Jupiter’s main ring is approximately 7,000 kilometers wide. It is composed primarily of dust from two of Jupiter’s moons, namely Adrastea and Metis, that follow the same orbit as the main ring. The main ring is also the brightest of Jupiter’s rings. . [“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA]
The Gossamer Ring
The gossamer ring surrounds the main ring and is composed of two rings, where one ring is inside the other ring. The inner gossamer ring is called the Amalthea Gossamer ring while the outer ring is called the Thebe Gossamer ring. [“Planets with Rings.” Universe Today] These rings were made from the dust and debris collected from the four inner moons of Jupiter. The gossamer ring extends outwards to approximately 129,000 kilometers wide and inward to approximately 30,000 kilometers. [“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA]
The Inner Halo
The inner halo is also made from dust particles, but they are finer and are collected from Jupiter’s main ring. Jupiter’s inner halo measures approximately 20,000 kilometers. The inner halo is characterized as having a faint appearance. [“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA]
“Solar System Exploration: Planets: Jupiter: Rings.” NASA Solar System Exploration. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. <http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Jupiter&Display=Rings>.
“Voyager – Jupiter.” NASA Voyager – The Interstellar Mission. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2013.
“Planets with Rings.” Universe Today — Space and astronomy news. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. <http://www.universetoday.com/35227/planets-with-rings/>.