Stunning colour image of planet Saturn shows its glowing rings

The image was taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1981

Nasa shared a colour representation of an image of Saturn, taken by Voyager 2 in 1981. Photo: Nasa

Nasa has shared a stunning image of Saturn taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1981.

It is a colour representation of the planet, that helps to show its rings and northern hemisphere brightly glowing.

The photo was taken when Voyager 2 was 33.9 million kilometres from the planet. It made its closest approach to the planet a month later.

“It's a combination of three images, taken through ultraviolet, violet and green filters,” Nasa said on Instagram.

Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system and is known for its seven striking rings that are made up of chunks of ice and rock.

The gas giant is made up mostly of hydrogen and helium, with 82 moons that orbit it.

Nasa research in 2018 showed that the planet is losing its rings, which are being drawn by gravity into Saturn as a dusty rain of ice particles.

“In this new study, the rate of water flow into the planet is estimated to be one Olympic-sized swimming pool every half an hour, meaning Saturn's rings will be gone in under 300 million years,” Nasa said on its website when the study was first released.

“This is short relative to the 4.5 billion-year age of the solar system. The findings suggest that giant planetary ring systems are not built to last for ever.”

Strange Earth-like planets beyond our solar system – in pictures

Updated: April 20, 2022, 12:37 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS