Huge Distant Planet Has Rings 200 Times Larger Than Saturn’s

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Back in 2012 researchers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA came across a huge planet or a dwarf like star which has a ring system similar to that of Saturn but 200 times larger.

The space object which they called J1407b is the first one outside our solar system to be discovered with such a ring. Matthew Kenworthy from the Leiden Observatory says that, thanks to new research they were able to conclude that the system has some 30 rings in total, each of them, tens of millions of kilometers in diameter.

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In total the entire ring system is about 120 million kilometers in diameter, roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s. It’s so big in fact that if it were to replace the one Saturn, it would appear bigger than the Moon in our sky. Scientists have also concluded that there are clear gaps between the rings which clearly show the formation of satellites within the ring system.

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These satellites can be as big as Mars or even Earth, given the fact that J1407 is somewhere to 10 to 40 times the mass of Jupiter -the biggest planet in our solar system-. Since the system is some 434 light-years from Earth, we can’t actually see the rings directly.

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But thanks to our present day telescopes, we are able to see with great clarity and precision where these rings are, how big and how many they are, all based on the flickering of light the star (J1407) passing behind the ring system produces when it’s light goes through the dust particles from these rings.

Scientists have concluded that both Jupiter and Saturn must have had rings like these, before the creation of their own satellites, but nobody had ever seen one before the discovery of J1407b in 2012, which basically confirmed their predictions. They also say that this ring will thin out and eventually disappear as more and more satellites are formed around the huge planet.

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