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Sunday, March 30, 2014

The first ringed asteroid discovered

Ringed planet? That's not surprising. However, there a celestial body that is more petite and ringed, for example the asteroids? Recent research suggests that such objects was exist. Astronomers find the first ringed asteroid in the universe.

Felipe Braga-Ribas observation on Chariklo, a celestial body circling the sun between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, at the Observatorio Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chariklo is an object known as centaurs, objects between the orbits of Jupiter and Uranus, which have unstable orbits. Centaur could be a comet or asteroid.
This illustration shows the ring system detected around Chariklo, an asteroid-like object called a centaur. (Picture from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/)
Observations occoured on June 3, 2013, with utilizing the occultation event, which in this case, Chariklo across the face of a star that is located far away in space. When Chariklo passing, dimming the star's light, allowing astronomers to observe the Chariklo in more detail.

By using seven telescopes, astronomers initially wanted to observe again the shape and size Chariklo by measuring the length of the occultation occurs when dimmed. Braga-Ribas encountered a strange pattern of dimming. He expected the pattern was caused by gases that released by Chariklo.

However, he finally realized that it was not happening because of the strangeness of gas, but because of the two rings that surround the 250 km diameter object. "It's very surprising," said Braga-Ribas as quoted from National Geographic, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

Two of the ring has a width of each of the 7 and 3 km. Both are separated as far as 9 kilometers. Braga-Ribas and his team named the ring as Oiapoque and Chiu, based on the name of a river in the north and the south of Brazil.

The presence of these ring structures have explained the strange phenomenon on Chariklo encountered in 1997 and 2008. The object dimmed, and the signs of the presence of water in the form of ice disappeared. Braga-Ribas explains, when it Chariklo ring structure was not visible to the human view on Earth.

When the ring structure visible from the viewpoint of humans on Earth, will re-appear bright Chariklo, and signs of water will be re-observed. Ring structure has indeed been found. However, its origins are still mysterious. Scientists still can only guess.

According to scientists, one of the possible origins of these rings is that there is a collision between Chariklo and other objects in the past. Collisions produce debris which gradually form a ring structure, which now surrounds the Chariklo. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC]
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