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Surprising Science

Asteroids Can Have Rings

NASA recently announced a cool discovery: asteroids can have rings! Luckily, the one that revealed this is not headed for us. 

The asteroid 10199 Chariklo, orbiting the sun between Saturn and Uranus, has at least two orbiting rings, making it the smallest known ringed object. 

NASA has more: 

As Chariklo passed in 2013 in front of a faint star, unexpected but symmetric dips in the brightness of the star revealed the rings. Planetary astronomers are now running computer simulations designed to investigate how Chariklo’s unexpected ring system might have formed, how it survives, and given the asteroid’s low mass and close passes of other small asteroids and the planet Uranus, how long it may last.

Watch the video below of an artist’s illustration of NASA’s discovery: 

A ring system discovered around (10199) Chariklo from Lucie Maquet on Vimeo.


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