It is about 250 kilometers in diameter, has two rings, one about seven and the other about three kilometers wide, separated by a gap of nine kilometers, at 396 and 405 kilometers from the minor planet.
It is the smallest known object to have rings and only the fifth body in the solar syster – after the much larger Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – to have this feature.
Chariklo, the largest known centaur object, orbiting in a region between Saturn and Uranus, is a very intriguing celestial body that surprised astronomers last year.
This remote minor planet has unveiled the existence of its rings during a stellar occultation, when it passed in front of a star UCAC4 248-108672.
Astronomer José Luis Ortiz from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, who was a member of the team that made the discovery, assumes that the ring systems on other minor objects in the solar system could be more common than we think.
“There is the possibility that other centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) might have rings, so it may be too premature to call Chariklo the ‘Little Lord of the Rings’, as there may be other systems with similar or more remarkable features,” Ortiz told Phys.org.