Technology Ring discovered around egg-shaped dwarf planet Haumea

10:06  12 october  2017
10:06  12 october  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

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The ring encircles a strange world called Haumea , a dwarf planet that’s shaped a bit like a squashed egg . Haumea is one of just five officially recognized dwarf planets in the Solar System, but it’s the only one we know of to have its very own ring .

Egg - shaped Haumea was discovered in 2004 but astronomers have just been able to establish that it has a ring . Now, following fresh observations, astronomers have discovered this dwarf planet also has a ring system in orbit around it.

An artist's conception of Haumea and its ring system. The ring was discovered by telescopes on Jan. 21, 2017. © IAA-CSIC/UHU An artist's conception of Haumea and its ring system. The ring was discovered by telescopes on Jan. 21, 2017.

As kids, we all knew Saturn was the one planet in our solar system with rings.

Then, rings were also discovered around Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. And now a new study reports that a ring has been spotted around another object in our solar system: Haumea, a weird, egg-shaped, distant dwarf planet located beyond Neptune.

This is the first time that a ring has been discovered around such a distant body in the solar system, according to the study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature

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“One of the most interesting and unexpected findings was the discovery of a ring around Haumea ,” said shape and size of dwarf planet Haumea , and discover to our surprise that it is considerably The team said their data shows that the egg - shaped Haumea measures 2,320 kilometers in its

Haumea is 30 times further from the Sun than we are and is known for its peculiar rotation — and now, for its ring .

“In 2014 we discovered that a very small body in the Centaurs region (an area of small celestial bodies between the asteroid belt and Neptune) had a ring and at that time it seemed to be a very weird thing,” study lead author José Ortiz told The Guardian. “We didn’t expect to find a ring around Haumea, but we were not too surprised either.”

Ortiz is the head of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Spain, which made the discovery. The team was able to spot the rings by using 12 telescopes from 10 different laboratories on Jan. 21, 2017, as Haumea passed in front of a distant star, a process known as occultation. 

His team said that Haumea's ring has a width of about 43 miles and a radius of roughly 1,400 miles. 

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Take, for example, the dwarf planet Haumea , a large egg - shaped body that hangs out beyond Neptune in the far reaches of our little planetary neighborhood, which researchers just discovered also happens to have a ring around it.

Take, for example, the dwarf planet Haumea , a large egg - shaped body that hangs out beyond Neptune in the far reaches of our little planetary neighborhood, which researchers just discovered also happens to have a ring around it.

"There are different possible explanations for the formation of the ring; it may have originated in a collision with another object, or in the dispersal of surface material due to the planet’s high rotational speed,” Ortiz said. 

Haumea, which spins on its axis every four hours, is one of the fastest-rotating objects in the solar system.

Astronomers also recently spotted rings around the dwarf planets Chariklo and Chiron, which are located between Saturn and Uranus. Unlike ordinary planets, dwarf planets are defined as being bodies that have not cleared other material out of their orbital path, according to Nature

The new discovery shows that the presence of rings could be much more common than was previously thought, in our solar system as well as in other planetary systems, Ortiz said.

Haumea, which takes 284 years to orbit the sun, is named for the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth and fertility, NASA said. It also has two moons, Hi'iaka and Namaka.

 

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