The Solar System

Gas Giants

What is Saturn’s largest ring like?

In 2009, astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope discovered a new, super-sized ring around Saturn. This ring would be twice the diameter of the full Moon if viewed from Earth, but it is invisible to the human eye because it is so sparse and faint. It is tilted at an angle of about 27 degrees compared to the rest of Saturn’s ring system, and stretches more than eleven million miles (seventeen million kilometers) outward beyond the planet’s surface. One of Saturn’s outer moons, Phoebe, orbits within it. Even though it has far less mass than Phoebe, which is just 130 miles across, the ring has the volume of about one billion Earths!


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