saturn extra ring

New ring discovered around Saturn is the largest in the Solar systemAn eighth ring has been discovered around Saturn by a Nasa telescope that was able to pick up the thin array of ice and dust particles.Published: 1:42PM BST 07 Oct 2009An artist's rendering released by NASA shows the biggest but never-before-seen ring around Saturn, spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Photo: APPreviously it was thought that the famous planet only had seven rings named A through to E and several faint unnamed rings.However Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope was able discover a new ring by picking up tiny particles of dust and ice using an infrared instrument.The ring is about 1.5 million miles thick and fifty times further out into space than Saturn's other famous rings, making it bigger than any other ring previously studied in the Solar system. Until now the biggest known rings in the solar system were Saturn's E ring.NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that announced the discovery, said the ring was probably made up of debris kicked off Saturn's moon Phoebe by small impacts.The telescope was able to pick up tiny particles of ring dust, that shine with thermal radiation from the Sun, by using an infrared instrument.A paper on the discovery has been published by the journal Nature.Anne Verbiscer, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and one of the authors of the paper, said the ring could tell scientists more about Saturn and other planets."This is a unique planetary ring system because it's the largest planetary ring in the solar system," she said."The particles are very, very tiny, so the ring is very, very tenuous – and actually if you were standing in the ring itself, you wouldn't even know it. In a cubic kilometre of space there are all of 10 to 20 particles."In particular the ring may answer the riddle of another moon around Saturn, Iapetus, which has a bright side and a very dark side. Scientists think that the debris from Phoebe is not only creating the ring but impacting with Iapetus, which is going the opposite way, creating a thick layer of dust on one side of the planet over billions of years.The Spitzer mission, launched in 2003, is managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Spitzer is 66 million miles from Earth in orbit around the sun.
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