Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier than the ring system of Saturn. The ring system – the first of its kind to be found outside our solar system – was discovered in 2012 by a team led by Rochester’s Eric Mamajek.
A new analysis of the data, led by Leiden’s Matthew Kenworthy, shows that the ring system consists of over 30 rings, each of them tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. Furthermore, they found gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites (“exomoons”) may have formed. The result has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.
The Lord of The Rings has a registration number: J1407b.
In the celestial vaults over our heads, there is a new, young upsized Jupiter with rings to put Saturn to shame.
Imagine looking up and seeing something like this in the sky. Even Jupiter has no hopes of coming close.
Just look at this:
”A new analysis of the data shows that the ring system consists of over 30 rings, each of them tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. Furthermore, they found gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites (“exomoons”) may have formed.
The result has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.” (Source: spaceplasma.tumblr.com)
Is there a link back to Middle-earth other than the (admittedly) staid title of “Lord of the Rings” every celestial object that has rings get saddled with anyway? Definitely. And it’s to do with more than just bling-obsession.
By the end of the Third Age, we know “... war was kindled, and in battle with Sauron the Third Age ended even as it had begun….
…. Then Sauron failed, and he was utterly vanquished and passed away like a shadow of malice;and the towers of Barad-dûr crumbled in ruin, and at the rumour of their fall many lands trembled.” (The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)
But Sauron was ever a minion of Morgoth only, even if he was the true Dark Lord’s ablest lieutenant. And we know Morgoth himself endured, and has been enduring since the end of the First Age: “But Manwë put forth Morgoth and shut him beyond the World in the Void that is without; and he cannot himself return again into the World, present and visible, while the Lords of the West are still enthroned.” (The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath)
As Morgoth himself still endured, who is to say he has no hand in Sauron’s grand plan to conquest by bling, or that he did not know of the rings? Or that it’s not supreme passive-aggression behind the being of this most impressive of uber-planets that put both Saturn’s rings, and Jupiter’s size to shame?
- Rings Like Saturn’s, but Supersized
- Gigantic ring system around J1407b much larger, heavier than Saturn’s
- Scientists Discover Exoplanet With Rings Far More Impressive Than Our Saturn
NOTE: This beautifully timely newsbreak kicks off the small set of Silm-related astro-ramble in the pipeline. Nothing brainy or epiphanic, just to give the inner-nerd a much needed stretch.