Distant Ringed Object Could Be ‘Saturn on Steroids’

Oct 14, 2016

By Nicholas St. Fleur

About 400 light years from our solar system, there is a celestial body that looks like Saturn on steroids.

Its rings are about 200 times larger than its counter part here, measuring about 75 million miles in diameter. The ring system is so large, in fact, that scientists aren’t sure why it doesn’t get ripped apart by the gravity of the star it orbits.

One reason the rings might stay intact has to do with the direction in which they spin around the object at their center, called J1407b. Scientists are not sure whether J1407b is a gigantic planet that measures may times larger than Saturn, or a failed star called a brown dwarf.


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One comment on “Distant Ringed Object Could Be ‘Saturn on Steroids’”

  • @OP – Scientists are not sure whether J1407b is a gigantic planet that measures may times larger than Saturn, or a failed star called a brown dwarf.
    The ring system is so large, in fact, that scientists aren’t sure why it doesn’t get ripped apart by the gravity of the star it orbits.

    If the ring system is this large and the planet/dwarf star is large, perhaps the rings are being ripped apart by the gravity of its parent star, and perhaps icy satellites are being flexed by the contrasting gravity fields at different parts of their orbits, to produce cryovolcanism spraying out new material constantly re-forming rings, as is happening with some icy moons in the Solar-System.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enceladus

    In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft started multiple close flybys of Enceladus, revealing its surface and environment in greater detail. In particular, Cassini discovered water-rich plumes venting from the south polar region.[16] Cryovolcanoes near the south pole shoot geyser-like jets of water vapor, other volatiles, and solid material, including sodium chloride crystals and ice particles, into space, totaling approximately 200 kilograms (440 lb) per second.[12][15][17] Over 100 geysers have been identified.[18] Some of the water vapor falls back as “snow”; the rest escapes, and supplies most of the material making up Saturn’s E ring.



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