Surprise Discovery: Asteroid with Two Rings – Mar 26, 2014

This ESOcast shows how observations at many sites in South America, including ESO's La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings.

This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature.

The origin of these rings, named Oiapogue and Chui for rivers in Brasil, remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris.