It seems to be a given that gas giants have rings. However,Saturn has rings that are far larger than any others in the Solar System, and far more visible as well. What is unique to Saturn that it has such a large and complex ring system? Images from Wikipedia, in order of planet, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.



Uranus Ring System

Neptune Ring System


There are two factors at work here:

  1. The rings of Saturn are made of much more reflective material (water ice) than those of Jupiter, Uranus or Neptune.
  2. They simply have much more matter in them. This wikipedia article and this one suggest a mass for Saturn's rings ($1-3\times 10^{19}$kg) which is at least 1000 times greater than that of Jupiter's rings ($10^{14}$ -- $10^{16}$kg) including possible small moons embedded in the rings.

The question of why this arose is, as far as I know, more or less completely open, especially given that we don't even have much of an idea whether these ring systems have been around since the planets formed, or are much more recent. It could be pure chance, perhaps related in part of the sizes and orbits of the moons. It might relate to how far from the Sun the planets formed, and how they got to their present positions, which is still very much under active discussion.

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source:Wikipedia (This image shows that the rear side of Saturn ring is dark )

source:astrobob(this image shows the variation of rings brightness as the distance from earth the more closer the more brighter)

The Saturn ring consist of 99% of water and the remaining impurities**

The water is in the form of water ice since ice is a crystalline structure it reflection and refracts light that illuminate them and they appear more brighter

But the brightness depends upon the intensity of incident light and the more the Saturn is closer to the sun the more brighter it will appear

The reason the ring of Jupiter appear dull {tho it is closer to earth compared to Saturn} it is more composed of dust which has poor reflectance

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    $\begingroup$ This is almost a good answer, but a bit incoherent... $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 3 '13 at 16:45

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