Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Did Saturn, the Lord of the Rings, lose his crown?

 Exoplanet J1407b has rings so big it makes Saturn look like a dwarf planet!

 The planet Saturn may even be the Lord of the Rings of the Solar System, but its title certainly does not have the same power if we consider the entire Universe.

 Astronomers have noticed the repeated and prolonged dimming of a star similar to the Sun, and according to interpretations and observational experiences, this indicates an eclipse passing through a complex and giant planetary ring, similar to the rings of Saturn, but much, much larger.  Furthermore, the different densities of these rings imply the presence of at least one large exomoon, and perhaps one more in the process of formation.

 J1407 is a main-sequence orange dwarf star located about 116 light-years away.  Over the course of 57 days in 2007, the star J1407 underwent a "complex series of eclipses", which an international team of astronomers claims is the result of a system of rings around an exoplanet known as J1407b.

 "This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is about 200 times the size of Saturn's rings," and we can imagine it as a super-Saturn."

 J1407b's dense rings span about 180 million kilometers, and may have the same mass as Earth.

 "If we could replace Saturn's rings with J1407b's rings, they would be easily visible at night, and they would be much larger than the Full Moon."

 Planet J1407b has a mass up to 40 times that of Jupiter, and technically, it could be a brown dwarf.

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