ESOcast 64: First Ring System Around an Asteroid
This episode of the ESOcast presents the recent discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings.
Telescopes at seven locations in South America, including the 1.54-metre Danish and TRAPPIST telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile were used to make this surprise discovery in the outer Solar System.
This unique finding has sparked much interest and debate since it is the smallest object by far to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature.
Astronomers think that this sort of ring is likely to be formed from debris left over after a collision. The story of this unique and unexpected discovery is told in ESOcast 64: First Ring System Around an Asteroid.