Ringed Asteroid Shocks Science: Smallest Object To Be Seen With Rings Like Saturn [VIDEO]

  on
Asteroid Shocks Astronomers
Astronomers have discovered a giant asteroid that has rings, and this is the first time we have seen something this small have rings

Shocking the science community is the discovery of a giant asteroid that boasts rings like Saturn. Until now it was thought that only gas planets like Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune had the gravity to hold on to the billions of ice and dust bits that make up a ring. This is the smallest object ever to be seen with rings, and now astronomers are asking how it's possible.

The asteroid, which was discovered in 1997, is called Chariklo and lies 621 million miles from Earth, orbiting between Saturn and Uranus. The rings are two to four miles wide and 251 miles from the center of the asteroid. The rings are made from water and ice.

While science marvels in this discovery, it is still to be determined how these rings were formed. One possibility is that the asteroid had a collision with a smaller object. One thing is certain, though: This asteroid has changed the game forever. Beautiful, majestic rings like those around Saturn are now not exclusive to large gas planets.

Join the Discussion