The dusty hoop

October 7, 2009 / So there’s this mega-ring around Saturn we never knew about…

Poetic turn of phrase from BBC News on the discovery of a feint but massive ring around Saturn, much further out than the others:

A colossal new ring has been identified around Saturn. The dusty hoop lies some 13 million km (eight million miles) from the planet, about 50 times more distant than the other rings and in a different plane.

The Wikipedia article has been faithfully updated…

On 6 October 2009, the discovery of a tenuous disk of material in the plane of and just interior to the orbit of Phoebe was announced. This disk can be loosely described as another ring. This ring is tilted 27 degrees from Saturn’s equatorial plane (and the other rings). It extends from 128 to 207 times the radius of Saturn; Phoebe orbits the planet at an average distance of 215 Saturn radii. The ring is about 20 times as thick as the diameter of the planet.

…and references a NASA story which, let’s be honest, should really be called “Lord of the Rings.”

Space rocks (har, har).

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