History of Astronomy Question, Saturn's Rings

When did it become commonly accepted that Saturn’s rings are made of water ice? I have seen a cite from the 1911 Britannica that it was known at that time that the rings were not continuous objects, but it’s implied that no one was even speculating about exactly what they might be made of. By 1952, it was probably pretty accepted at that point, as Isaac Asimov mentioned mining the rings for ice in his story “The Martian Way”. Can anyone narrow it down better than that?

*** Ponder

Rings of Saturn, Composition:smiley:

I already read that article, but I didn’t see anything in there that answered my question in the OP.

*** Ponder

This site seems to imply that it wasn’t until 1970 that it was conclusively proven. If that’s correct, then Asimov was going off an unproven theory — but, knowing him, probably one that had at least some adherents in the scientific community of the day.

In the first paragraph under Physical Characteristics it plainly states the rings are composed of “99.9% pure water ice with a smattering of impurities.”

As to the date of acceptance of the now established fact of composition you might find this by way of NASA or similar sources if it is of paramount importance to know a date certain.

Yes, but that isn’t what the OP asked. He already knew they were made of water ice; if he didn’t already know that, he wouldn’t have even asked the question he did in the first place.

Well, that was the actual question asked.

I think it was around 1970 that water ice was confirmed (or strongly evidenced) by looking at the rings’ spectra in the infrared. Don’t remember the details.