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Tori Discovered around Dwarf Planet
Author: | Update time:2014-08-23           | Print | Close | Text Size: A A A

  Recently, a paper published in Nature (Nature, 2014, 508, 73) claims that on June 3rd 2013, a number of telescopes positioned in South America observed the occultation by the dwarf planet (10199) Chariklo, which lasted only 20 seconds. The observations revealed the existence of two mass-dense torus structures around the planet. This is the first time that such structures have been observed around dwarf planets; prior to this point, such structures have only been witnessed circling Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

  The occultation was a 12.4 magnitude event, observable from South America. A total of 14 telescopes participated in the observation, of which only the Denmark 1.54m telescope, operated by Yunnan Observatories personnel at the time, obtained the complete light curves, including all five luminosity dips in the light curve. The observation lasted 10 minutes, with a temporal resolution of 0.1 seconds. From the data obtained, the tori's masses, opacities, and distances from the planet were calculated.

  Xiaobin Wang and Shenghong Gu were the ones operating the Denmark 1.54m telescope at the time. To honour her contribution, an asteroid (9832) was named after Xiaobin Wang at the international conference Asteroids, Comets and Meteors 2014.

 

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