Why is the dwarf planet’s ring beyond Neptune puzzling scientists?


Science News Desk – There is no shortage of curious objects in the universe. At the same time, our solar system itself is not far behind in this matter. This time in a new study, scientists have been surprised to see a dwarf planet beyond Neptune away from Earth. Europe’s CHEOPS mission has made a startling observation about a dwarf planet named after Quaoar, a god from American mythology, and detected a dense ring of material around it. Amazingly, this ring lies outside the influence of the quasar’s gravity.

This disk is made of icy particles and is so thin that it gives the impression of being like a ring. It is only 4100 km from the center of Quaoar while its diameter is 8200 km but unlike other celestial rings it is outside the Roche limit. Roche limit is the distance where the effect of gravity of the body ceases. The distance of this ring is located at a distance of about seven and a half times more than the radius of the quasar. This disk or ring is raising many new questions for scientists. The most important thing in this is why the material of this ring did not turn into a moon. This dwarf planet is located towards the outer edge of the Solar System, beyond the distance of Pluto.

This disc or ring has been discovered based on a series of observations made between 2018 and 2021. Astronomers used ground-based telescopes, with special help from the space-based Cheops Telescope. They learned of this when Quaoar passed in front of a distant star. Astronomer Bruno Morgado of the Velongo Observatory says that this ring or disk has been discovered in such a place that it should not be possible to be there. That’s why its presence has surprised the scientists. Detailed information about the results of this study has been published in the journal Nature.

Quaoar is one of a group of Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs). TNOs are a group of small bodies in the Solar System, far beyond Neptune, that contain several dwarf planets, including Pluto. The largest of these objects are Pluto and Iris, according to the European Space Agency, Quaoar has a radius of 555 km and is the seventh of these objects in terms of size. Not only this, there is also a moon of Quaoar whose radius is 80 kilometers. When Quaoar was discovered in 2002, it was proposed as a dwarf planet, but is currently defined as a minor planet.

But the International Astronomical Union, which makes such decisions, has not yet decided its category. The moons of Quaoar are called Vevot. Scientists say that this ring or disc will be made of the same substances that would have come out of the quasar when any other body collided. A similar process is believed to have formed the rings of Saturn, and our Moon is thought to have formed by a similar process. Researchers say that there is no indication or information about how the ring of Quaoar was formed.

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