Not Saturn. Jupiter. Yes, Jupiter has rings. Did we just blow your mind?

It's surprising how few people know about the ring system of our solar system's largest planet. Then again, spotting the Jovian ring system from Earth is next to impossible; in fact, it wasn't until 1979, when Voyager I returned some of its first images of the gas giant, that anyone even knew it existed.


Since then, astronomers have used data from NASA's Galileo satellite to determine that the planet's faint, circumscribing bands likely formed in the aftermath of impact events on its surrounding moons. The resulting rings are certainly less conspicuous than those of its neighbor Saturn, but I'd argue they're just as beautiful when viewed in the right light. Here, the ring system appears dramatically as Jupiter passes between the Sun and the Galileo spacecraft. Be sure to check it out in hi-res; breathtaking doesn't begin to describe it.

Photo by Joseph Burns, Maureen Ockert-Bell, Joseph Veverka and Michael Belton, via NASA JPL/Cornell/University of Arizona/NOAO.