First-ever detection of a ring around a dwarf planet


In the framework of a Europe-wide observation campaign, a scientific team co-directed by the French observed the astonishing dwarf planet Haumea, situated in the Kuiper belt. Already known for its ellipsoidal shape, resembling a cigar, and for its rapid rotation, this transeptunian object is surrounded by a dense ring—a real first for this type of stellar body. Rings are thus no longer the preserve of giant planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus or Neptune.