Pluto's neighbour, the exotic Haumea has a ring around it

Pluto's neighbour, the exotic Haumea has a ring around it

The main discovery was the existence of the dwarf planet rings with a width of 70 kilometers and a radius - 2287 kilometers, which lies in the same plane as the equator Haumai and his companion Hiiaka. This dwarf planet is a third of the size of Pluto, has a weird, elongated shape, and rotates once every four hours. The team, made up of global astronomers, watched the dwarf planet briefly pass in front of a star, which blocked out that star's light. According to the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, there is a collection of icy dwarf planets called trans-Neptunian objects, or TNOs. Jose Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain said that it is regrettable that even with the most enormous telescopes on Earth, or the Hubble Space Telescope, we can not see the details of Haumea, than a dot of light. And we know it's shaped like an ellipsoid, and how dense it is - which tells us more about what it's like on the inside too.

This suggested something was obscuring it, most likely a series of rings, that was only confirmed after many months of follow-up research by a team led by José Luis Ortiz of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía. As a result, the team was able to pick up certain things about the dwarf planet, including the possibility of having a ring.

The number of ringed solar objects seems to be increasing in the outer realm of the solar system. The occultation that led to this revelation was a network of 12 telescopes spread across 10 locations in central Europe that watched Haumea pass between Earth and the star "URAT1 533-1825".

The occultation also provided the team with our best analysis yet of Haumea's size and shape, which the researchers describe as "very exotic".

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Aside from those instances, the Haumea ring is the first time we've detected this, so we're in some pretty unfamiliar territory - but the researchers hint we may be about to observe an fantastic trend in the characteristics of these faraway, mysterious minor planets.

Astronomers have discovered that Haumea, an egg-shaped dwarf planet at the edge of the Solar System, is surrounded by a ring of particles.

The presumption that only larger planets like Saturn can host rings has been busted. Ortiz estimates that about a quarter of bodies in the outer solar system might have rings around them, although he stresses that this is still "pure speculation" for now.

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