• Saturn

Saturn (Photo : REUTERS)

A new study discovered that Saturn’s outermost ring is much bigger than previously thought. Douglas Hamilton of University of Maryland stated that it is the first time ever that they have captured and mapped the entire image of the planet’s ring.

Along with Hamilton, Anne Verbiscer of CalTech and Michael Skrutskie of University of Virginia also identified the new size of the ring. They have found out that the estimated measurement of Phoebe ring is 270 times the size of Saturn and more than 10 times bigger compared to E ring, the second largest ring in the solar system.

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According to their findings, Phoebe ring has tiny dust particles. Its thickness is around 1.6 million miles and the inner edge starts on 3.7 million miles from Saturn and stretches approximately 6.4 million miles farther. Researchers concluded that the overall diameter of the ring is around 20 million miles, CS Monitor reported.

The small dust particles are just 10 millionths of a meter, resulting to the nudging of the sun to them inward toward Iapetus, Saturn’s moon that is black on one side and white on the other because of the Phoebe ring, according to ABC Science.

The Phoebe ring has eight rings that encircle the Saturn. These rings are composed of fine icy particles that are present in a crowded space, a place where collisions occur per hour. The E ring has tiny dust grains composed of ice and one micron and it came from the moon Enceladus’ geysers.

Researchers are currently finding some dust in the region around the orbit of Iapetus, so they can conclude if the moon stretches it up.