Thursday, October 08, 2009

Out of This World!

The above photo is a NASA's artist rendering of the planet Saturn (the little dot in the center shown enlarged in the bubble) and it's newly discovered, but largest ring.
To get an idea of the size of the ring - it extends more than 7 million miles from the planet Saturn! It would take one billion earths to fill it!

The ring is made up of ice and dust particles around minus 158 degrees C.

It was only detected now, because of the immense size. The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope was able to capture the image due to the wavelengths emitted by the cold temperatures. Prior to this, the image was only captured in part and therefore scientists only suspected a ring.
Spitzer has infrared camera that can pick up images that the human eye can not see.
Spitzer was launched in 2003 and is orbiting the sun. It is now 60 million miles from earth.

Researchers are optimistic that this is just the beginning of what they can learn.

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