Surprising rings circle comet-asteroid hybrid

Two thin bands of orbiting ice particles make this planet wannabe unusual

By Christopher Crockett, 20:48 PM March 29, 2014

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Rings of orbiting ice crystals encircle all giant planets in our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now a much smaller planetoid — an object too small to qualify for planet status — can join them on the list of ringed objects. It is the first time rings have been found around such a small object.

Astronomers have discovered a pair of thin rings encircling 10199 Chariklo. It’s a rock-and-ice asteroid-comet hybrid, also known as a centaur. Chariklo’s diameter is onl...

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