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PASADENA, Calif. — The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the biggest but never-before-seen ring around the planet Saturn, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced late Tuesday.
The thin array of ice and dust particles lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system and its orbit is tilted 27 degrees from the planet's main ring plane, the laboratory said.
In particular the ring may answer the riddle of another moon around Saturn, Iapetus, which has a bright side and a very dark side. Scientists think that the debris from Phoebe is not only creating the ring but impacting with Iapetus, which is going the opposite way, creating a thick layer of dust on one side of the planet over billions of years.