Astronomers have discovered a massive ring system circling the exoplanet or brown dwarf dubbed J1407b. One scientist referred to it as a “super Saturn” due to its size. In fact, it may even be home to a moon the size of Earth.
The discovery marks the first time a ring system has been seen existing outside of our solar system. New analysis shows there are over 30 rings in the system, each measuring tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. Scientists also discovered gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites (exomoons) may have formed.
“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,” Leident Observatory astronomer Matthew Kenworthy said in a news release.