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Shepherd Satellites

The discovery of two "shepherd" satellites has advanced our understanding of the structure of the Uranian rings. The moons, designated 1986U7 (Cordelia) and 1986U8 (Ophelia), are seen here on either side of the bright epsilon ring and are believed to confine it by their gravitational effects. Inward from the epsilon ring are the delta, gamma, eta, beta and alpha rings. The 4, 5, and 6 rings are barely visible inward from there. The rings have been studied since their discovery in 1977. The epsilon ring appears surrounded by a dark band as a result of the image processing.

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