Do Exoplanets Have Rings Like Saturn?


A new study has suggested the possibility that exoplanets are capable of harboring rings. However, unlike the icy chunks that form Saturn’s rings, the rings of exoplanets most likely consist of a different chemical make-up. Since the first “hot Jupiter” was discovered in 1995, these abnormal extra-solar planets have come with a lot of baggage. Not only did they destroy the model astronomers theorized for solar system formation, it is still unknown how they formed and why they are so close to their parent star they orbit around. Well, one thing the Jupiter of our solar system and these hot Jupiters may have in common is the existence of a ring system. With the new data coming in from the space telescope, Kepler, astronomers may be able to observe rings around approximately 35 of the 500 potential exoplanets found so far. Of the hundreds of identified extrasolar planets, none of them are known to have rings. Of course, this does not mean they’re not there; we just can’t see them, yet. This new study brings us that much closer to learning more about those other worlds we still know so little of. An exciting possibility is that by analyzing these rings systems, scientists may be able to get information about the inner composition of the extrasolar planets.

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