Exoplanets, or planets outside of our solar system, can be seen from Earth by varying the brightness of their main star.
When a planet passes in front of Earth and its star, some of the light is partially blocked, usually for a few hours.
The researchers noticed an extraordinary and dynamic light show that lasted two months in the case of star J1407.
Between 2005 and 2008, data on the star were acquired, and “right smack in the midst of the year 2007, the light curve goes berserk.” All of a sudden, it begins to flicker and twinkle.
J1407b’s ring system was found in 2012 by astronomer Eric Mamajek of the University of Rochester and his co-author from the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. It is thought to be nearly 120 million kilometres (74.5 million miles) in diameter, or more than 200 times the size of Saturn’s rings. It comprises of over 30 rings, each of which has a diameter of tens of millions of kilometres.
The first ring-system-equipped exoplanet or brown dwarf found using the transit method is J1407b. In 2007, the star saw a series of occultations (eclipses) during a 56-day span. The pattern matched what would be predicted for the passing of a big array of several rings.
Unfortunately, this beautiful ring system won’t last forever, just like Saturn’s rings. The rings are anticipated to thin out over the next few million years and eventually vanish when satellites are created from the material in the discs.