Gigantic Ring System Around J1407b Much Larger, Heavier Than Saturn's





Space, 31 Jan - 2015 ,

Gigantic Ring System Around J1407b Much Larger, Heavier Than Saturn's
Artist's conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b is shown. Credit: Ron Miller

Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions

Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier than the ring system of Saturn. The ring system -- the first of its kind to be found outside our solar system -- was discovered in 2012 by a team led by Rochester's Eric Mamajek.

A new analysis of the data, led by Leiden's Matthew Kenworthy, shows that the ring system consists of over 30 rings, each of them tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. Furthermore, they found gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites ("exomoons") may have formed. The result has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.


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