New Ring on Saturn!

Have you heard the latest? Its true! NASA has discovered a new ring around Saturn and “its the largest planetary ring seen yet in the solar system” (Reuters). Apparently the ring’s particles are barely visible but shine with thermal radiation and were picked up by the infra-red Spitzer Space Telescope. The amazing thing is that the ring starts at about 6 million kilometres (3.7 million miles) from the planet – FAR from the original rings we have come to know and love – and “partly marks the orbit of Saturn’s distant moon Phoebe”. The ring extends about 13 million kilometres (8 million miles) and, as is put into perspective in this video, “is so huge it would take 1 billion earths to fill it”. WOW!

It goes to show you that what we’ve discovered about space in our own solar system is only a small fraction of what’s really out there.

(Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

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12 thoughts on “New Ring on Saturn!

  1. I can never get enough of space news. I really feel like that’s the only type of science that we can all get excited about. Who hasn’t looked at a starry sky and wondered what’s really out there? The distance you mentioned is so, well, astronomical, that I can’t even begin to comprehend it. Thanks for the great bit of news, and second post in a short time!

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    1. You know, Omar, I’m not normally up on my space news. Not intensionally…but I guess I don’t move in the right circles!! 😉 My girlfriend mentioned this yesterday and it piqued my interest. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the picture above. It is kind of mind blowing in an astronomical kind of way.

      I’m just a writing machine…I know!! lol!! Doubt I can keep up the momentum though. Thanks for dropping by again!!

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  2. I had spent hours staring at distant stars and galaxies through a telescope. I had also used the grass in the meadows as my bed and the heavens as a velvet blanket and gazed with the naked eye (and soul) at the infinite beauty above till sleep hugged my consciousness with dreams of space and time travel.

    May I suggest that if one day, while you’re browsing through the titles in a bookstore to take an extra minute or two and find “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan. I know it’s Omar’s favorite book too and I have a hunch it will be yours Isobel, if you just give it a try.

    Thank you for another beautiful post. I’m sorry if my comments sometimes tend to be too lengthy and complicated. The longer we write or talk the more we detract from the true essence of beauty, which reminds of the Italian Impressionist Painter, Elio Carletti’s (1925-1980) ultimate description:

    “Beauty is a summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing is needed to be added, taken away or altered.”

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    1. Abufares, your comments can only, and do in fact, enhance my posts. How perfectly poetic this one is. When I rarely get an unobstructed view of the heavens, I get this bizarre feeling of being inside a paperweight – bizarre but also indescribably beautiful.

      Thank you for your suggestion to read Cosmos. As luck would have it, it is on my bookshelf at home. Perhaps I’ll crack it open and see where it takes me. 🙂

      Thank you as always.

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  3. You remind me, Isobel, of a time, in a previous life, canoeing into the middle of a lake in Algonquin park on a clear night. We were hundreds of kilometers from any civilization. The stars were blanketing the sky. There were so many of them, the whole sky just seemed to glow. I recall feeling both insignificant and at the same time part of something extraordinary. Something far greater than could ever be the product of mere human imagination.

    I recently learned that heavy elements such as iron, mercury, selenium, gold, etc. Were not created during the big bang. They were created in the blast furnaces of stars. Stars that long ago lived out their lives, and upon their deaths, exploded and scattered themselves throughout the Cosmos. And so the elements that comprise us were born inside stars. We literally are, as Carl Sagan put it, Star Dust. And when our star dies, it too will scatter itself, and us, again throughout the cosmos. What could be more poignant than that?

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  4. These kind of dimensions make me feel we are so tiny when compared to the Universe… it makes me have second and third thoughts about my “big” problems. Scary…
    I remember some years ago, when the breaking news was: Pluto is not anymore a planet.
    Cosmos, my brother in law recommended it to me some years back. After AbuFares recommendation, I guess it is a must.

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    1. I know…I think the news about Pluto was the last space news I heard too. I have this bizarre concept of our solar system as being very small…well, it is compared to the infinite vastness of all space…but when someone says you can put a billion Earths inside a ring of dust that’s within our solar system…well…snap…lol!

      I guess Cosmos will be the book of the month! 🙂

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  5. It goes to show you that what we’ve discovered about space in our own solar system is only a small fraction of what’s really out there.

    …. and how little we even know of what is right here.

    It shows that we know … little.

    Awesome post.

    Brigand – loved your comment … Star Dust.

    Abufares thank you for that quote. It made me think.

    “Beauty is a summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing is needed to be added, taken away or altered.”

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    1. Thanks, Fantasia! I loved all the comments too, including yours. Space, and all the mysterious things in it, is so fascinating and often times beautiful beyond our understanding of the word. 🙂

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    1. Hi Kinzi! No I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth…just taking a wee break from blogging to get everything else done that needs doing…I hope to be back soon!! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

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