In 2013, using ground-based telescopes, Felipe Braga Ribas and his colleagues discovered that Chariklo hosts a system of two thin rings. These rings were only expected around large planets like Jupiter and Neptune.
Astronomers were watching a star as Chariklo passed in front of it, blocking out the starlight as they expected. Astronomers call this phenomenon unseen. To their surprise, the star blinked again and again twice before disappearing behind Chariklo, and flashing again after the star returned. The flash was caused by two thin rings – the first rings ever detected around a small body in the solar system.
Pablo Santos-Sanz, of the Astronomy Institute of Andalusia in Granada, Spain, has an approved “Goal of Opportunity” program (Program 1271) to attempt observing the unseen as part of the Webb solar system’s Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) system led by Heidi Hamel of the Association of Universities for Research in astronomy.
Through remarkable good fortune, they discovered that Chariklo was on his way to such a cryptic event in October 2022. This was Astral’s first attempt at cloaking with Webb. Much hard work has gone into defining and refining predictions for this unusual event.
On Oct. 18, they used Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument to closely observe the star Gaia DR3 6873519665992128512, observing dips in brightness that indicate an occultation.
The shadows produced by Chariklo’s rings have been clearly detected, demonstrating a new way to use Webb to explore solar system objects. The star generated by Chariklo himself remained out of Webb’s line of sight. This application (the technical name for a close pass without blocking) was exactly as expected after Webb’s last runway maneuver.
Webb’s subtle light curve, a graph of an object’s brightness over time, revealed that the observations were successful. The episodes were captured exactly as expected. Mysterious curves of light will produce an exciting new flag for Chariklo rings.
Santos-Sanz explains, “As we dig deeper into the data, we’ll explore whether we solve the two rings cleanly. From the shapes of the subtle light curves of the rings, we’ll also explore ring thicknesses, sizes and colors of ring particles, and more. We hope to gain insight into why rings exist.” for this small body at all, and perhaps the discovery of new, fainter rings.”
The rings are likely made of small particles of water ice mixed with dark material, debris from an icy body that collided with Chariklo in the past. Chariklo is so small and so far apart that Webb even directly shoots the rings separate from the main body, so the fasteners are the only tool to mark the rings on their own.
Shortly after the disappearance, Webb targets Chariklo again, this time to collect observations of sunlight reflected by Chariklo and its rings (GTO Program 1272). The system spectrum shows three absorption bands from water ice in the Chariklo system.
Noemi Pinilla-Alonso, who led Webb’s spectral observations of Chariclo, says, “The spectra of M ground telescopes This has been hinted at by ice (Duffard et al. 2014), but the remarkable quality of the web spectrum revealed the clear imprint of crystalline ice for the first time. ”
Adds Dean Hines, principal investigator for this second GTO program, “Because high-energy particles transform ice from crystalline to amorphous states, the discovery of crystalline ice indicates that the Chariklo system experiences continuous small collisions that either expose pure matter or lead to crystallization processes.” ”
more than The light is reflected In the spectrum from Chariklo itself: the models indicate that the area of the observed ring as seen by Webb during these observations is likely to be one-fifth that of the body itself. Webb’s high sensitivity, together with detailed models, may allow us to extract a signature of ring material that is distinct from that of Chariklo. Piniella Alonso comments that “By observing Chariclo with Webb over several years as the viewing angle of the rings changed, we might be able to isolate the contribution from the rings themselves.”
successful web hide Chariklo’s light curve and spectral observations open the door to a new way to characterize small objects in the distant solar system in the coming years. With Webb’s high sensitivity and infrared power, scientists can use the unique scientific yield that occultations provide, and enhance these measurements with near-contemporaneous spectra. Instruments like these would be huge assets for scientists studying small, distant bodies in our solar system.
the quote: Webb spies Chariklo ring system with high-precision technology (2023, January 25) Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-webb-spies-chariklo-high-precision-technique.html
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