NASA telescope discovers giant ring around Saturn

The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the biggest but never-before-seen ring around the planet Saturn, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced late Tuesday.

Saturn Giant Ring

Saturn

The thin array of ice and dust particles lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system and its orbit is tilted 27 degrees from the planet’s main ring plane, the laboratory said.

JPL spokeswoman Whitney Clavin said the ring is very diffuse and doesn’t reflect much visible light but the infrared Spitzer telescope was able to detect it.

Although the ring dust is very cold — minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit — it shines with thermalc.

No one had looked at its location with an infrared instrument until now, Clavin said.

The bulk of the ring material starts about 3.7 million miles from the planet and extends outward about another 7.4 million miles.

The newly found ring is so huge it would take 1 billion Earths to fill it, JPL said.

Before the discovery Saturn was known to have seven main rings named A through E and several faint unnamed rings.

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