It seems as if every week there is some new and exciting information regarding our solar system. As a lover of astronomy, I feel compelled to share the latest news and information with you.
The latest news to rock the astronomy community comes from the outer edges of our solar system. According to a report from CNN, astronomers have discovered a ring around Haumea, a strange dwarf planet that lies past Neptune.
According to Jose Luis Ortiz, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), this is the first time that anything of this nature has been observed. Before this, the only rings that had been discovered were those around one of the four giant planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune).
What makes the discovery so exciting is the fact that it proves that these rings could far more common than we thought. As to what caused the formation of the ring, astronomers are still uncertain. Ortiz believes that it could be a result of two possible factors: collision with another object or dispersal of surface material caused by the planet’s incredibly fast rotational speed. Whatever the reason, it’s an exciting development.
There isn’t much known about the dwarf planet. It was the subject of a recent international campaign aimed at learning more about the dwarf planet. It was also discovered that Haumea is not a typical sphere-shaped dwarf planet; instead, it sports something of an elongated sphere, similar to a rugby ball. Haumea also features two moons.
While Haumea’s ring is still being studied, it is more than likely made up of the same material found in most other planet’s rings: ice and rock. Most planets’ rings are formed when asteroids, comets or other large moving objects are torn apart by a nearby planet’s gravitational pull.
Could this discovery lead to an even greater realization? Hopefully. And even if that realization isn’t immediate, it is still better to understand our solar system bit by bit, and take those learnings to make sense of the bigger picture somewhere down the line.