The distant world possess a huge system of more than 30 rings. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have found a planet with rings over 200 times larger than those found around Saturn.
The discovery marks the first time that a ring structure has been observed around a planet outside of our own solar system.
Located around 420 light years away in the constellation of Centaurus, the new planet possesses at least 30 individual rings, each stretching for tens of millions of kilometers.
The ring system is so large that if it were to exist around Saturn it would appear several times larger than the moon in the sky.
Scientists believe that gaps in the rings indicate the presence of moons that have been formed by the ring material coalescing - a process that has also been observed around Saturn.
"The planetary science community has theorised for decades that planets like Jupiter and Saturn would have had, at an early stage, disks around them that then led to the formation of satellites," said Prof Eric Mamajek of the University of Rochester.
The ring system was found thanks to data collected by the SuperWASP observatory which looks for extrasolar planets by detecting when one passes in front of its parent star.
Source: BBC News | Comments (6)
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