Scientists Discover Huge Ring Around Saturn

10.07.09 | FL News Team


NASA scientists have discovered a massive ring around the planet Saturn.  CNN reports the ring is so big, it would take one-billion Earths to fill it.  Anne Verbiscer, an astronomer at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, calls it "one supersized ring," and says the object consists of ice and dust particles that may come from comet or meteor collisions with Saturn's moon Phoebe.  Verbiscer and two others write about the discovery in the science journal "Nature."

So why did it take scientists so long to uncover something so big?  Verbiscer says the ring is made up of ice and dust particles that are so far apart that, "if you were to stand in the ring, you wouldn't even know it."  In addition, Verbiscer explains, Saturn doesn't get a lot of sunlight, and the rings don't reflect much visible light.