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Astronomers discovered first-ever miniature planet with two rings

Charkilo named miniature planet with two rings of ice and pebbles was discovered by astronomers between Saturn and Uranus.

Mar 29, 2014 17:17 IST
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Astronomers in fourth week of March 2014 discovered a miniature planet named Charkilo with two rings of ice and pebbles between Saturn and Uranus in the Kuiper Belt. This is the first ever discovery of a celestial body with rings like giant planets Saturn and Jupiter. Rings of the discovered celestial body are not more than few hundred meters thick and are only three and seven kilometer wide.  The centers of the two rings are 14 kilometer and the gap between them is 9 Kilometer.

The smaller celestial body was discovered by a team of researchers from Niels Bohr Institute. It is two billion kilometers out in the solar system and has been named as Chariklo.

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The rings of Chariklo were discovered for the first time with the help of a new camera being used on the Danish telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Although this miniature planet was known for many years but the rings were never observed. This camera has been developed at the Neils Bohr Institute.

The planet, Charkilo is located in the Kupier Belt but at some point it is thrown out of this belt at the time of discovery it was was placed between Saturn and Uranus, in a collection of small objects called Centaur. Charkilo is the largest of all these objects with a diameter of 250 kilometer.

Kuiper Belt is a collection of thousands of dwarf planets and comets in the orbit beyond Neptune on the edge of the Solar System.

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