Scientists Discover Another Dwarf Planet…with Rings?

By Lauren Dulatre

After recent telescope discoveries, it has been reported that scientists found a dwarf planet in our solar system with rings around it, and they cannot explain why. The dwarf planet, Quaorar, is one of the many other planets that orbit the sun after Neptune. Observations of the planet have found that the rings sit far away from the planet, and the material in the rings was supposed to develop a moon, but it did not. 

Before finding the planet, scientists believed that planets beyond Neptune could not form rings, as there was a generally accepted rule of celestial mechanics that materials in orbit around a planet will automatically form a moon. For example, the rings around Saturn lie around the planet’s Roche Limit, which is a point where the planet’s tidal forces would be stronger than the gravity holding the moon together. 

“As a result of our observations, the classical notion that dense rings survive only inside the Roche limit of a planetary body must be thoroughly revised,” said Giovanni Bruno of INAF’s Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, Italy.

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