Astronomers have discovered the first ever Saturn like ringed planet outside our solar system. The newly discovered exoplanet has a gigantic size; in fact its rings are so vast that it can gobble up our solar system’s second largest planet nearly 200 times.
The planet has received a name J1407b. Matthew Kenworthy of the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands said on Wednesday that the planet’s rings are so widely spread that it would have completely dominated Earth’s sky if present in our solar system. “You’d see the rings and the gaps in the rings quite easily from Earth. It’d be several times the size of the full Moon,” he said.
The exoplanet is revolving around its sun 420 light years far from our earth. The “lord of the rings”, as scientists say, was discovered back in 2012, but it was confirmed recently by the researchers after an eclipse it caused for its sun. After conducting several other researches including adaptive optics and Doppler spectroscopy, scientists found that the planet’s mass might be 10 to 40 times heavier than our solar system’s most ponderous planet, Jupiter. The planet boasts 30 mammoth but beautiful rings with a diameter greater than 10 million miles. Scientists believe that the rings are mostly made up of dust particles. Rings are fast moving particles revolving around a planet, fast enough to give the appearance of a ring-like structure.
Kenworthy said that rings can’t be viewed directly as the planet is situated at a very far distance. However, based on rapid change in the brightness in the starlight passing through the ring system, a detailed model of the rings can be made. He further added that rings of the ‘Super Saturn’ are very thin and eventually will degrade in next several million years.