A few days ago, we teased that we have an exciting result to share with you. Here it is!
On June 3rd, Chariklo — the largest object between Saturn and Uranus — passed in front of a relatively bright star. It cast a shadow across South America.
A collaboration of telescopes — including Skynet’s PROMPT telescopes in Chile — timed the occultation of the star by Chariklo, hoping to use the data to better measure Chariklo’s size and shape:
But when we analyzed the data, we were surprised to find that something also dimmed the light before, and again after, the main occultation. Two moons?
No, because we saw these additional occultations at each telescope — each under a different part of the shadow:
Putting everyone’s data together, it was clear that we had discovered a ring — two rings actually!
This is the first detection of rings around a solar-system body other than the four gas giants — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
For more information on Chariklo:
For the press release:
For the full scientific article, in Nature: