Rings around Small Solar System Objects: Discoveries and Detection Limits
Session 9.01 Occultations (Targeted)
Thursday 06-27 | 09:00 - 09:30
No co-author.

Until 2013, ring systems were known only around the four giant planets. This perspective shifted when a stellar occultation revealed the presence of two rings around the minor planet (10199) Chariklo (Braga-Ribas et al. 2014), a Centaur object. In January 2017, another occultation revealed the existence of a ring encircling the dwarf planet (136108) Haumea (Ortiz et al. 2017). The third minor body with a confirmed ring system is the big Transneptunian Object (50000) Quaoar. Intriguingly, Quaoar's ring system is far beyond the classical Roche limit (~1,780 km). The innermost ring lies about 2,520 km from the Quaoar center (Pereira et al. 2023), and the outermost ring lies about 4,100 km. The latter presents significant longitudinal variations concerning optical depth and width (Morgado et al. 2023). Similarly, observations of flux variations in occultation light curves over two decades of the Centaur (2060) Chiron suggested the presence of material in its surroundings. Published works have interpreted these materials as rings, shells, and jets, but a definitive classification is premature. In this context, stellar occultations by Chiron were conducted in 2018 and 2019 (Braga-Ribas et al. 2023), 2022 (Ortiz et al. 2023), and 2023 to characterize the observed structure, revealing that the material around Chiron presents an evolving structure, which can result from outbursts feeding putative rings. We have also identified objects that presented outbursts and thus could be capable of hosting rings, such as the Centaurs Echeclus (Pereira et al. 2024) and 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1. Stellar occultations by them were observed and used to search for rings or other confined signatures. In cases where detection was not achieved, we obtained upper limits for detecting additional structures. This ongoing work can result in discovering new ring systems, other confined structures, or even small satellites around these small bodies in the solar system. These results and implications will be presented in this talk.

Forgot Your Password?
Create Account