07 November 2017
When it comes to our solar system, we think we know everything but there’s still a lot left to learn. Did you know that there are thousands of dwarf plants which still remain a mystery? Scientists have discovered a vast ring which runs around a dwarf planet called Haumea. While rings around planets are quite common with Saturn being known for its many rings, what is surprising is finding a ring around such a minor and distant planet. However, a similar discovery was made sometime back when scientists found two rings around an object known as Chariklo.
The main astronomer who stumbled upon it is Jose Luis Ortiz from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Spain. Researchers from 10 labs viewed the minor planet through 12 different telescopes to confirm the finding. The team of researchers confirm the size of the ring which encircles Haumea as having a width of 70 kilometres (43.5 miles) and a radius of about 2,287 kilometres (1,421 miles).
Here’s what the researchers have to say:
The discovery of a ring around Haumea – a much more distant body, in a completely different dynamical class, much larger than Chariklo and Chiron, with satellites and with a very elongated triaxial shape – has numerous implications," the authors write in their paper, "such as rings being possibly common also in the trans-Neptunian region from which Centaurs are delivered, and opens the door to new avenues of research.
It seems like our solar system is an endless expanse of unexplored territory. Who knew such a thing would even be discovered in 2017. This discovery paves the way for many more discoveries to come in the future.