Scientists Find Dwarf Planet With an ‘Impossible’ Ring, And They’re Unsure How It Exists

Quaoar illustration

‘Rings in the Solar System are not exactly rare. Half the planets have them, and others may have in the past. Some asteroids have rings, as does the dwarf planet Haumea. Even the Sun has rings of a sort.

Now astronomers have found an entirely new ring system. Only this one has left them scratching their heads, as it’s unlike anything else in the Solar System.

Quaoar, a small dwarf planet that hangs out in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto, is also circled by a dense ring – a ring circling at a distance so great it should still be stuck together as a moon.

The discovery means that scientists may need to revise our understanding of how moons and rings form and are affected by the gravitational interaction with their larger companion.

Quaoar, measuring just 1,110 kilometers (690 miles) across, was discovered in 2002 and, over the years, has turned out to be quite the interesting little ball of rock. It shows signs of ice volcanism, and it even has a cute little moon called Weywot, just 170 kilometers across.

But in 2021, astronomers noticed something else….’

— via ScienceAlert

Posted in Uncategorized

Thanks for commenting

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s