Apparently, not just planets have rings. Even smaller bodies – such as dwarf planets – have them, and that has just been proved. And the (unexpected) protagonist is Haumea, a mysterious dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system.
“Earlier this year, Haumea passed between Earth and a distant star, allowing planetary scientists to get a better idea of the dwarf planet’s shape and size. The new findings were announced today (Oct. 11) in the journal Nature.Haumea is one of the largest objects inhabiting an area beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt. Pluto is the region’s largest resident, and Haumea shares some characteristics with its larger neighbour. Both take a highly elongated path around the sun that crosses the orbits of other planetary bodies; Pluto crosses Neptune’s orbit, and Haumea crosses Pluto’s. Also, both dwarf planets orbit at an angle to the paths of the eight planets, which circle the sun along a common plane. Also like Pluto, Haumea has moons — at least two, Hi’iaka and Namaka.”
To read the whole story, go here.