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First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System 29

astroengine (1577233) writes "When you think of a celestial ring system, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn will likely jump to mind. But for the first time astronomers have discovered that ring systems aren't exclusive to planetary bodies — asteroids can have them too. Announced on Wednesday, astronomers using several observatories in South America, including the ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, have discovered that distant asteroid Chariklo possesses two distinct rings. Chariklo, which is approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) wide, is the largest space rock in a class of asteroids known as Centaurs that orbit between Saturn and Uranus in the outer solar system. 'We weren't looking for a ring and didn't think small bodies like Chariklo had them at all, so the discovery — and the amazing amount of detail we saw in the system — came as a complete surprise!' said lead researcher Felipe Braga-Ribas, of the Observatório Nacional and MCTI, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
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First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

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  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:37PM (#46588021) Homepage

    Dig deeper, and you soon hit the Planck length [wikipedia.org], so, no. Really small things don't resemble larger things at all. That's why QM is so counter-intuitive. Heck, you don't even have to dig that deep to realize that an atom does not resemble the solar system, even though both have small things orbiting a large central mass.

    For that matter, go the other way, and you hit the light-speed barrier, which has a huge effect on the way really big things work. The very large and the very small are both immensely different from each other and from things on what we consider a normal, human scale. Your notion is poetic, but contradicts most of the physics discovered since the early 20th c.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter