Ring discovered around dwarf planet beyond Neptune

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Ortiz adds that the use of occultation to find of a ring around Haumea may help others detect rings around similar far-flung objects, and that perhaps Haumea's elongated shape and fast rate of spin are important clues.

What should we know about Haumea?

Oritz says there is more than one possible answer to that question.

Astronomers believe there's another dwarf planet surrounded by objects orbiting in the space.

To learn more about this particular dwarf planet, Ortiz and his colleagues worked out that on 12 January this year Haumea would pass in front of a distant star, known by the catchy title URAT1 533-182543, giving them the flawless opportunity to study it in more detail.

Haumea's ring was discovered by an worldwide team of astronomers operating on an ongoing program to designate Trans-Neptunian Objects or objects that are distant from the sun than Neptune. And for some reason, a significant part of them have rings.

The specifics to how Haumea dimmed the light of that distant star would be perfectly explained by a semi-transparent ring with a width of 70km and a radius of 2287km.

Haumea rotates every four hours. He explained that Haumea is spinning super quickly, probably as the result of some giant impact that happened billions of years ago.

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In fact, all of its strangeness might be linked with Haumea and its two moons - Hi'aka and Namaka - potentially originating from a larger Haumea that was struck by something in the Kuiper Belt. That debris would have coalesced into the ring.

Haumea's discovery in 2005 was contentious.

The discovery, led by astronomer Jose Luis Ortiz from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Spain, took more than a little coordination to pull off. But it appeared that someone at Ortiz's institution had been sifting through famous planet hunter (and Batygin's now-partner) Mike Brown's online notes showing the object just before the announcement. Centaurs, which have unstable orbits, are considered large comets, not planets, which means this is the first observation of a ring around a dwarf planet. Ortiz is the first author of the newest Nature study.

Till now there had been only four other planets in outer solar system which had rings - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. And it's what makes a dwarf planet a planet (according to the definition the IAU came up with), and not just a "small solar system body".

Why Does Haumea Have A Ring?

There's more work to be done in constraining all of the specifics of the ring.

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