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Uranus and Its Rings

This remarkable picture shows the planet’s very faint rings, which were discovered in 1977. Extremely dark, they may be made of countless fragments of water ice containing radiation-altered organic material. Uranus was unknown to ancient astronomers. British astronomer William Herschel discovered the planet in 1781 using a homemade 15-centimeter telescope.

Voyager, January 24, 1986

Credit: NASA; JPL; Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures