n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Spitzer discovers huge ring around Saturn : news notes

Volume 68, Issue 11_12
  • ISSN : 0024-8266



NASA's Spitzer infrared space telescope has discovered an extremely faint but enormous ring around Saturn (see cover picture). The new ring is tilted by 27 degrees to Saturn's main ring plane and is quite thick, about 20 times the diameter of Saturn. The bulk of its material starts about six million kilometers away from the planet and extends outward roughly another 12 million kilometers. If it was visible from Earth, it would span one degree (two full Moon diameters) on the sky. One of Saturn's farthest moons, Phoebe, circles within the newly found ring, and is likely to be the source of its material.

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