Volume 568, August 2014
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||21 August 2014|
Photometric and spectroscopic evidence for a dense ring system around Centaur Chariklo⋆
1 Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia - CSIC. Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
2 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, 37996-1410, USA
3 Observatorio Nacional de Rio de Janeiro, 20921–400 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4 LESIA-Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Univ. Paris 6, Univ. Paris-Diderot, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
5 Observatorio Astronómico, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Laprida 854, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina
Received: 14 May 2014
Accepted: 8 July 2014
Context. A stellar occultation observed on 3rd June 2013 revealed the presence of two dense and narrow rings separated by a small gap around the Centaur object (10 199) Chariklo. The composition of these rings is not known. We suspect that water ice is present in the rings, as is the case for Saturn and other rings around the giant planets.
Aims. In this work, we aim to determine if the variability in the absolute magnitude of Chariklo and the temporal variation of the spectral ice feature, even when it disappeared in 2007, can be explained by an icy ring system whose aspect angle changes with time.
Methods. We explained the variations on the absolute magnitude of Chariklo and its ring by modeling the light reflected by a system as the one described above. Using X-shooter at VLT, we obtained a new reflectance spectra. We compared this new set of data with the ones available in the literature. We showed how the water ice feature is visible in 2013 in accordance with the ring configuration, which had an opening angle of nearly 34° in 2013. Finally, we also used models of light scattering to fit the visible and near-infrared spectra that shows different characteristics to obtain information on the composition of Chariklo and its rings.
Results. We showed that absolute photometry of Chariklo from the literature and new photometric data that we obtained in 2013 can be explained by a ring of particles whose opening angle changes as a function of time. We used the two possible pole solutions for the ring system and found that only one of them, α = 151.30 ± 0.5, δ = 41.48 ± 0.2° (λ = 137.9 ± 0.5, β = 27.7 ± 0.2°), provides the right variation of the aspect angle with time to explain the photometry, whereas the other possible pole solution fails to explain the photometry. From spectral modeling, we derived the composition of the Chariklo surface and that of the rings using the result on the pole solution. Chariklo surface is composed with about 60% of amorphous carbon, 30% of silicates and 10% of organics; no water ice was found on the surface. The ring, on the other hand, contains 20% of water ice, 40−70% of silicates, and 10−30% of tholins and small quantities of amorphous carbon.
Key words: Kuiper belt objects: individual: Chariklo / planets and satellites: rings
Partially based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile. DDT 291.C-5035(A). Based on observations carried out at the Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito, which is operated under agreement between the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de la República Argentina and the National Universities of La Plata, Córdoba, and San Juan.
© ESO, 2014
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