Going, Going, Gone: Hubble Captures Uranus's Rings on Edge
This series of images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows how the ring system around the distant planet Uranus appears at ever more oblique (shallower) tilts as viewed from Earth – culminating in the rings being seen edge-on in three observing opportunities in 2007. The best of these events appears in the far right image taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on August 14, 2007.
The edge-on rings appear as two spikes above and below the planet. The rings cannot be seen running fully across the face of the planet because the bright glare of the planet has been blocked out in the Hubble photo (a small amount of residual glare appears as a fan- shaped image artifact). A much shorter color exposure of the planet has been photo- composited to show its size and position relative to the ring plane.