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'Super Saturn' with gigantic ring system found

Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 04:22 PM
London, Jan 27: Astronomers have found that the ring system they saw eclipsing a very young Sun-like star -- known as 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 Eric Mamajek from the University of Rochester in Britain.

A new analysis of the data, led by Matthew Kenworthy from the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, shows that the ring system consists of over 30 rings - each of them tens of millions of kms in diameter.

Furthermore, they found gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites (or exomoons) may have formed.

"The details that we see in the light curve are incredible. The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings," Kenworthy said.

The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed model based on the rapid brightness variations in the star light passing through the ring system, he added.
Agency: IANS
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