Largest known planetary ring discovered

This band can’t be beat: It circles Saturn and stretches more than 24 million kilometers across

By Ron Cowen, 17:19 PM October 6, 2009

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico — A newly discovered planetary ring can run circles around all the others. The gossamer band of dust encircles Saturn and has a measured diameter of about 24 million kilometers, or 200 times the diameter of the planet.

This finding makes the band the largest known planetary ring in the solar system, researchers reported October 6 at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. A billion Earths could fit inside the ring.

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