Spotted, a distant exoplanet with giant rings

January 28, 2015 8:24 AM

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Dutch–US astronomers have discovered a planet that hosts a gigantic ring system like that around Saturn, albeit 200 times larger. This is the first time such structure has been detected around a planet beyond our Solar System. The research is explained in detail in the Astrophysical Journal.

Researchers say there are probably more than 30 rings, and each measure tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. There are gaps detected in the ring system, which suggest that some of the material may already have coalesced to form moons. This phenomenon is visible in Saturn’s rings today.

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