The Largest Centaur in the Solar System Has Rings


Atlas Obscura

April 28, 2017

The most famous rings in the solar system encircle Saturn, Uranus, and Jupiter, but they’re not the only planetary jewelry. Chariklo may be small by comparison—in cross-section it’s about the size of Sri Lanka—but the minor planet, known as a “centaur,” has two little rings of its own. Those rings also just so happen to be the perfect size for learning more about how ring systems form. A team of scientists from Japan has developed the first complete simulation of a ring system, and their model shows Chariklo’s rings may be short-lived.


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