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"Astronomers say they have discovered a planet with a gigantic ring system that is 200 times larger than that around Saturn."

Image as if Saturn had these rings, seen from Earth. Moon on the left for scale. It'd be interesting to calculate "ring light" levels on Earth if that was Saturn.

[Image: _80548357_80548355.jpg]

General system picture. Saturn, eat your heart out.

[Image: _80548358_80546402.jpg]
Neat Smile For those interested here's the original article:

Modeling giant extrasolar ring systems in eclipse and the case of J1407b: sculpting by exomoons?
Matthew A. Kenworthy, Eric E. Mamajek

Interestingly they estimate the mass of the rings as 100x the mass of Earth's moon which is around 7.34e24kg, around 50% greater than Earth!
Saturn's largest ring, the very faint Phoebe ring, is 300 x Saturn's radius; about 18 million km. These rings around J1407b are 60 million km in radius, so maybe not that much wider, even if they are much denser.

Saturn's Hill Sphere is about 65 million km, so it could just conceivably have rings as big as this, but I think that very dense large rings would collapse into moons quite quickly.
(01-28-2015, 05:40 AM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]Interestingly they estimate the mass of the rings as 100x the mass of Earth's moon which is around 7.34e24kg, around 50% greater than Earth!
If all that material collapsed into a single moon, it would be much larger than Earth.
How far is this system from Sol? Would it be in the Terragen Sphere? I looked but didn't see a location for it.

Also, it would be interesting to consider a computronium swarm orbiting a gas giant that might be of this size.

J1407b is 420 light years from Sol in the Scorpio/Centaurus OB association, - quite close on a galactic scale, and might be one of the early targets during the Later Federation/Age of Expansion. But this is almost certainly not the only example of its type.

Perhaps we should create a name for planets with such very large rings.

I did put a mega-ring system around Fomalhaut b in this image, but only because all the space illustrators were doing the same thing.
[Image: fomalhautb.png]
I've been considering the design of ships that frequent large ring-systems like this.

If the ship remains for long periods in the dust/ice belt, it will undergo frequent slow collisions - so the design of the ship would need to be robust enough to cope with this attrition. Perhaps a series of crumple zones or buffers around the hull would be enough to prevent damage to the interior of the ship; but if the ship needs to travel far and fast, it could always expend a little delta vee to change the inclination of its path and rise above the ring surface. Habitats could exist in the ring material as well, as long as they are protected similarly. It might even be possible to extract usable energy from these collisions under certain circumstances.
Depending on the requirements such a ship might navigate the rings physically. It could be fitted with long (multi-kilometre) tentacles that reach out and push/pull off of larger chunks for motion.
Like effector frames on a massive scale. I like it.
A more exact location for this star is in Centaurus, near HD 123090. Part of the Upper Centaurus Lupus segment of the Sco-Cen OB2 association that includes Antares, this star would probably be reached by the NoCoZo or Negentropists in about 2500 AT, and might be a NoCoNeg colony in the Current Era. It is a very young star, pre-mainsequence, ~16 million years old, type K5.
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