Saturn's Rings Dwarfed By The Huge Circles Around This Super Planet

January 26, 2015 6:56 PM

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Back in 2012, astronomers in the Netherlands discovered the first large ring system outside our solar system, circling either a giant planet or brown dwarf star called J1407b. A new analysis of that data finds that the ring system is actually massive — the more than 30 rings in the system are each tens of millions of kilometers in diameter and the system itself is much bigger and heavier than the famous rings circling Saturn.

The scientists analyzed data from the transit of the system in front of the star J1407 — basically looking at how the rings eclipsed the light from the distant star as they passed in front of it, a process that took several weeks due to the size of the system.

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