Saturday, October 14, 2017


Article Written By: Bright Li


The planet Haumea, the 3rd largest trans-Neptunian dwarf planet, was identified as having a ring around it. This discovery was made, as of October 13, 2017, by astronomers at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain.

Haumea is located in the Kuiper belt. The planet is elongated in terms of its appearance, and its axis rotates incredibly fast, completing one turn every 4 hours.
Quote from astronomer Dr. Pablo Santos-Sanz, "One of the most interesting and unexpected findings was the discovery of a ring around Haumea."

The team studied stellar occultations, which is the passing of objects in front of a star, and applied it to Haumea using 12 telescopes. Through this they discovered the ring, as well as its shape and size, with a high degree of precision. The ring's width is 43.5 miles (70 km), and has a radius of about 1,421 miles (2,287 km). It is possible that it may have been the result of object collision or surface material dispersion.

The team also found out that not only is Haumea in an elliptical projected shape, but its density is significantly higher, at 1,885 kg/m3. The planet shows no traces of global nitrogen, which might give clues to its past and present current status, as well as for other trans-Neptunian objects and space.

Read more about this fascinating story at
Image credit: Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia

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