We got two solar system surprises yesterday with the announcement that an asteroid has a dual ring system and the discovery of a far flung dwarf planet.
Pretty amazing that an asteroid could develop a dual ring system as we previously only knew of the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune having ring systems. Chariklo is a 250 km wide asteroid that orbits between Saturn and Uranus and is part of a group of asteroids known as Centaurs.
|Ring system of Chariklo - ESA|
The other big announcement was about a new dwarf planet called 2012 VP113 being discovered by ground based telescopes. The discovers are calling this dwarf planet Biden because of the "VP" in the original designation of their find but the true name will have to await official designation.
This 280 mile-wide dwarf planet is twice as far from the Sun as Pluto and beyond Sedna - the previously known farthest dwarf planet. It is pinkish in color covered with frozen methane and water. The discovers think there is a possibility that even larger objects could be "out there", perhaps even the size of Earth or MArs.
Scott Sheppard/Carnegie Institution for Science
The bottom line is that we are continuing to discover that our solar system is a VERY busy place with untold numbers of comets, asteroids and dwarf planets.
Sky Guy in VA
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