The planets in the solar system have several rings surrounding them, and some asteroids also have rings.
“Planetary rings,” according to Nature magazine, are discs around a bigger object that include numerous tiny ice and other material fragments. The Roche limit, where the gravitational attraction of the host prevents this material from accreting into objects, is where the majority of rings are located.
Astronomers recently made the discovery of a brand-new ring system. Only this one has perplexed them because it differs from every other solar system object.
Quaoar, a tiny dwarf planet that hangs out in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto, is also said to be encircled by a thick ring, which is surrounding it at such a long distance that it should still be held together as a moon, according to a report by Science Alert magazine. The finding suggests that scientists may need to reevaluate our knowledge of how moons and rings develop and are impacted by their larger companion’s gravitational field.
Quaoar is one of several tiny, far-off planets that the European Space Agency describes as trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Three thousand or so are known. TNOs are, as their name suggests, situated in the far reaches of the Solar System, past the orbit of the planet Neptune. Pluto and Eris are the two biggest TNOs.
Quaoar, which is around the seventh-largest object on the list by estimated radius, is orbited by the tiny moon Weywot, which has a radius of about 80 km.
The small sizes and great distances of these dwarf planets make study challenging. At about 44 times the distance between the sun and Earth, Quaoar itself orbits the sun. Particularly useful instruments are occultations. However, it has been challenging to pinpoint with precision when and where they will occur up until recently.
Astronomer Giovanni Bruno of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy said that the fact that the ring of debris is far further out than the Roche limit is what makes the discovery surrounding Quaoar so exciting.
The conventional belief that dense rings can only exist within a planetary body’s Roche limit needs to be completely altered as a result of our discoveries.
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