​J1407B: Star Near J1407B Contains Outer Rings Larger Than Saturn

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Jan, 29, 2015 | 9:17 AM

J1407B is causing some excitement in the science community. A group of scientists discovered that a young Sun-life star called J1407 is responsible for making the Saturn rings smaller. This star hosts a gas giant or a companion brown dwarf called J1407B — and this massive Jupiter-like celestial object is the host of the very wide ring system which is believed to eclipse even the host star.

Based on calculations made by group of astronomers from the Rochester University and the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands, this ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s as of today’s data.

To be published by the Astrophysical Journal, the new study claims that the J1407B’s ring system consists of roughly 30 rings each measuring tens of millions of kilometers in diameter, and in-between the ring system includes “exomoons” that already formed and make ring “gaps” appear if directly viewed.

Illustrated by Ron Miller, the image shows how wide the ring system is that it even passes through the host Star J1407. “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,” says Matthew Kenworthy who lead the study at Leiden.

It’s worth noting that J1407B, the gas giant, is bigger than Jupiter or Saturn, and it’s too far from Earth to be observed directly, but astronomers responsible for its discovery said that it’s roughly 10 to 40 heavier than the biggest planet in our solar system.

Scientists use adaptive optics and Doppler spectroscopy to detect the young star’s activity and found that the ring system was responsible of the dimming of Sun-like’s light.

Similar to other solar systems, including our very own, this ring will eventually shrink, or just simply disappear. Astronomers calculate that in the next “several million years,” satellites will form — just like how satellites formed in Jupiter and Saturn.

Unlike Jupiter, Saturn managed to retain its visible rings, though Jupiter also features rings called “Jovian ring system” but smaller in diameter and visible only if you’re near the gas giant.

Several theories suggested that rings were formed from collisions of satellites. When two satellites collide, they break apart and its host planet just like Saturn attract the debris, but these particles also have their own motion in space so they continuously orbit the host planet.

Rings of planets and other celestial objects, including Saturn and the large J1407B, are made of dust particles like rock and ice, and some objects came from asteroids and meteorites, but analysis determine that debris are from large objects that collided near the larger host, like Jupiter, Saturn and the J1407B.

Finding another gas giant with rings confirm that Saturn, or Uranus, are not “rare” and more planets will eventually appear to have their own stellar rings — and in the not so distant future — scientists might even find another bigger than J1407B.

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