|What has created a large dust ring around Saturn?
At over 200 times the radius of
and over 50 times the radius of Saturn's expansive
E ring, the
newly discovered dust ring is the largest planetary ring yet imaged.
The ring was found in infrared light by the Earth-orbiting
Spitzer Space Telescope.
A leading hypothesis for its origin is impact material ejected from Saturn's moon
Phoebe, which orbits right through the dust ring's middle.
An additional possibility is that the
dust ring supplies the
mysterious material that coats part of Saturn's moon
Iapetus, which orbits near the
dust ring's inner edge.
Pictured above in the inset, part of the dust ring
appears as false-color orange in front of numerous background stars.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Virginia