Chariklo is an icy, small body, but the largest of the known Centaur population, located more than 3.2 billion kilometres away beyond the orbit of Saturn. Chariklo is only 250 kilometers or ~51 times smaller than Earth in diameter, and its rings orbit at a distance of about 400 kilometers from the center of the body.
On 18 October 2022, a team used the James Webb Space Telescipe to closely monitor the star Gaia DR3 6873519665992128512, and watch for the tell-tale dips in brightness indicating an occultation had taken place. The shadows produced by Chariklos rings were clearly detected, demonstrating a new way of using Webb to explore solar system objects. The star shadow due to Chariklo itself tracked just out of Webbs view. This appulse (the technical name for a close pass with no occultation) was exactly as had been predicted after the last Webb course trajectory maneuver.
Credit: @NASA, ESA, CSA, Leah Hustak (STScI), Pablo Santos-Sanz (IAA-CSIC), Nicolás Morales (IAA-CSIC), Bruno Morgado (UFRJ, ON/MCTI, LIneA)
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