A dense ring of material around a dwarf planet does not seem like much, but it is the reason why the scientific community in Europe is shocked and bewildered by what Quaoar may end up being.
Quaoar is a dwarf planet, that is, it cannot be categorized as a planet or minor body of the Solar System. It was the Exoplanet Characterization Satellite, Cheops, of the European Space Agency (ESA) that discovered this interesting world.
According to a report published on the website of Sputnik News Latin, Quaoar is one of about 3,000 smaller bodies that orbit the Sunbeyond Neptune, and is the seventh largest.
ESA confirmed that observations of the star, carried out between 2018 and 2021, revealed that it has a ring located further away than scientists thought possible.
the mysterious ring
This dense ring is a mystery because all the material that makes it up should have condensed, forming a small moon, something that did not happen. He release indicates: “Early results suggest that Quaoar’s frigid temperatures may prevent the icy particles from sticking together, but more research is needed.”.
These findings challenge Roche’s limit, which is the smallest distance that a body orbiting a larger one can be and remain whole by virtue of its gravitational cohesion alone. An example of this is all of Saturn’s rings, which lie within that boundary.
Giovanni Bryno, an expert at the INAF Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, Italy, explained: “As a result of our observations, the classical notion that dense rings survive only within the Roche limit of a planetary body needs to be thoroughly revised.”
“So what’s so intriguing about this discovery around Quaoar is that the ring of material is much further away than the Roche limit.”, he added.