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posted by takyon on Thursday October 12 2017, @10:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the Rings-Past-Uranus dept.

It's not just Saturn and gas giants such as Uranus which have rings in our solar system – as a tiny dwarf planet has just been spotted with its very own.

It's the first dwarf planet beyond Neptune to be spotted with its own ring – and could prove that such rings are not uncommon in the outer solar system.

takyon: Haumea has two known moons as well as this newly discovered ring:

A stellar occultation observed on 21 January 2017 indicated the possibility of a ring system around Haumea. As published in Nature on 11 October 2017, this occultation was confirmed to be a ring, representing the first such ring discovered for a TNO. The ring has a radius of about 2,287 km, a width of ~70 km and an opacity of 0.5. The ring plane coincides with Haumea's equator and the orbit of its larger, outer moon Hi'iaka. The ring is close to the 3:1 resonance with Haumea's rotation.

Haumea is known for its extremely elongated shape, a consequence of its rapid rotation.

The size, shape, density and ring of the dwarf planet Haumea from a stellar occultation (DOI: 10.1038/nature24051) (DX)

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  • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Saturday October 14 2017, @05:03PM

    by toddestan (4982) on Saturday October 14 2017, @05:03PM (#582334)

    The International Astronomical Union also specifies that a planet must orbit around only one object (a star).

    Actually, not "a star", but "the Sun". So yes, by definition there are only eight planets in the entire universe.