"If we could replace Saturn's rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon."

J1407b, the Super Saturn

#Space

Sat, Jan 31st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

One of the planets circling star J1407 has a Saturn-like planet that's 200 times the size of ours. So big are its rings — measured in the millions of kilometres — that the eclipses it causes can last several weeks.

Now, using imaging techniques such as Doppler spectroscopy to estimate the mass of the ringed object, the Rochester and Leiden Observatory researchers have backed up this claim, saying that the star J1407 likely has a ringed companion, which they’re calling J1407b.

"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," says Kenworthy. "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. If we could replace Saturn's rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon.”

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