What Are the Different Types of Rings Around Saturn Called and Why Do Eccentric Rings Have Elliptical Orbits?

Idiosyncratic rings around the planet Saturn are rare and, for the most part, inexplicable.

They do not conform to the laws of physics as we understand them.

The primary rings, A through G, orbit Saturn in circles.

According to physics, it should be impossible for a ring to do otherwise, to have an elliptical, or oval-shaped orbit, for example.

Eccentric rings, however, have elliptical orbits.

The particles in kinky rings do not orbit in a regular pattern, but clump together and spread out irregularly, which shouldn’t be possible.

Braided rings are ringlets that seem to overlap each other in the pattern of a braid.

Again, physics should make this impossible.

The likely explanation has to do with the gravity of moons orbiting within the bands of atypical rings, but we really don’t understand how this happens.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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