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    • Mona Evans

      Neptune has rings. Four rings, made of diffuse fine material, were photographed by Voyager 2. (Photo: JPL) ©Mona Evans, "10 Amazing Facts about the Solar System"

    • Mona Evans

      Rings of Neptune. Voyager 2 imaged Neptune's dark, faint rings in 1989. Before that, earthbound scientists had only been able to find evidence of parts of rings. [Image credit: NASA] Mona Evans, "Neptune Facts for Kids"

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    Jupiter takes 12 years to make one trip around the Sun. These 12 images were taken between 2003 and 2015. At far left, we see Jupiter in 2003. The years proceed counterclockwise with 2015 immediately above 2003. Credit: SEN/Damian Peach

    Title Strait of Gibraltar Released 03/04/2015 Copyright ESA/NASA ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this image circling Earth on the International Space Station during his six-month Blue Dot mission.

    Saturn eclipsing the Sun (composite, images taken by Cassini orbiter 2006-09-15). View from behind Saturn. You may just see a tiny dot above the left extremity of the main ring set - that's Earth. On Saturn, you can see ringshine. The upper half gets less light from ringshine than the lower half. The equator & poles the least light. Mona Evans, "Earthshine" www.bellaonline.c...

    Tilt of Saturn. This animation demonstrates the apparent tilt of Saturn relative to the Earth and is made from images taken close to opposition each year from 2008 through 2015. (Credit: Trevor Barry)

    Saturn October 1996. It's about 75,000 miles across, flattened at the poles by its rapid rotation - a day lasts 10 hours. The horizontal bands in the atmosphere are caused by strong winds. Delicate colour variations are due to smog in the upper atmosphere, produced when UV radiation from the Sun shines on methane gas. Deeper in the atmosphere, the visible clouds & gases merge gradually into hotter & denser gases, with no solid surface. (Credit: NASA/ESA & The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)

    oceanworlds infographic by NASA

    Triton and Pluto & Charon. Astronomers think Neptune's moon Triton is, like Pluto and Charon, a Kuiper Belt Object. However Neptune's gravity captured Triton. Pluto is somewhat smaller than Triton, but its surface looks indistinct because the picture was taken from a long way away. New Horizons should remedy that soon.

    The 33 largest objects in our Solar System, ordered by mean radius, using the best images available as of January, 2015. (Credit and copyright: Radu Stoicescu.) We should have better pictures of Ceres, Pluto and Charon by the end of 2015.

    A view the Cassini spacecraft took during its flyby of Jupiter's southern pole in 2000. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

    This color photo of Neptune's largest moon Triton was obtained by NASA's Voyager 2 probe on Aug. 24, 1989, from 330,000 miles away. The resolution is about 6.2 miles, sufficient to begin to show topographic detail. Credit: NASA/JPL

    Solar System's Major Moons. (Data from NASA/JPL. Montage by Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society)

    Saturn: north polar vortex and rings. The hexagon is wider than two Earths. Its shape is from the jet stream forming its perimeter. The stream forms a six-lobed stationary wave wrapping the north polar regions at about 77 degrees latitude. (Released 2014-07-10)(Copyright: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

    Planets and the ecliptic. (Not to scale!) The planets orbit the Sun in the same plane - it's called the ecliptic. It's almost as though they're all rolling around on a giant tabletop. BUT there is no tabletop & the orbits are slightly tilted in various ways. BTW they also don't line up nicely like this.

    Jupiter's Great Red Spot Viewed by Voyager I. A hollow Jupiter's winds can exceed 400 mph and continuously circle the planet's atmosphere, taking cloud bands with them. The Great Red Spot, a spinning anticyclone, is a storm three and a half times the size of Earth. Here is an image Voyager 1 took early in 1979. It's quite splendid. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA/JPL) Mona Evans, "Voyager 1 – Gas Giants and a Last Look Homeward" www.bellaonline.c...

    Solar System. This is a very good selection of Solar System images gathered together by Ricardo Peloi.

    Miranda, moon of Uranus. The surface is probably mostly water ice, rather like some of the moons of other outer planets. But it's a jumble of older and younger surfaces, large canyons, broken terrain and other evidence of past geological activity. Mona Evans, "Literary Moons of Uranus" www.bellaonline.c...

    2013 Saturn mosaic, annotated version. The day Earth waved at Saturn. “I hope long into the future, when people look again at this image, they will recall the moment when, as crazy as it might have seemed, they were there, they were aware, and they smiled.” –Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader. Mona Evans, "Saturn Facts for Kids" www.bellaonline.c...

    Rings of Neptune. Voyager 2 imaged Neptune's dark, faint rings in 1989. Before that, earthbound scientists had only been able to find evidence of parts of rings. [Image credit: NASA] Mona Evans, "Neptune Facts for Kids"

    Uranus. Its blue-green color comes from methane crystals in the atmosphere. The rings do circle the equator, but Uranus is tipped so much on its axis that it orbits on its side. (Image credit: Voyager, NASA) Mona Evans, "Uranus Facts for Kids" www.bellaonline.c...

    Seasons of Uranus. The planet is tipped onto its side, so it orbits lying down. This means that each season is twenty years long. (Graphic credit: M.Showalter & M. Gordon, SETI institute) Mona Evans, "Uranus Facts for Kids" www.bellaonline.c...

    The Solar System. The scale is in astronomical units (AU) - 1 AU is the Earth-Sun distance. It's a logarithmic scale, and each set distance beyond 1 AU represents 10 times previous distance. This is so it all fits. Voyager was at about 125 AU when it crossed into interstellar space. You can see that it has a l-o-o-ong way to go before it passes through the Oort Cloud to escape the Solar System. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Ultraviolet Saturn (NASA, Hubble, 2003)

    "A Crescent Venus" by Lorenzo Comolli. A finalist in the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. Since the orbit of Venus is inside our own orbit of the Sun, it has phases like the Moon does. This photograph catches Venus as a mere sliver of a crescent against a blue sky. ©Mona Evans, “Venus Facts for Kids” www.bellaonline.c...

    Around Saturn. An exquisite video showing Saturn's rings and moons. Fabio di Donato made the animation using images selected from over 200,000 taken by Cassini between 2005 and 2013. Set it to a Shostakovich waltz, I wonder if you can watch it without swaying to the music. Donato dedicated it to the memory of Italian astrophysicist and popular science writer Margherita Hack. She died last month, aged 91. Donato said, “She made me love the stars.”

    JPL Waves at Saturn. On July 19, 2013 the Cassini spacecraft turned its imaging cameras towards Earth. People around the world waved at Saturn, including scientists, engineers and visitors at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Mona Evans, "Cassini MIssion and Website" www.bellaonline.c...