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The rings of Centaur Chariklo revealed by a stellar occultation observed by JWST

Presentation #301.07 in the session TNOs and Centaurs as Viewed by JWST (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
The rings of Centaur Chariklo revealed by a stellar occultation observed by JWST

Ring systems around non-planetary bodies have been discovered around the centaurs Chariklo (Braga-Ribas et al. 2014) and Chiron (Ortiz et al. 2015), the dwarf planet Haumea (Ortiz et al. 2017), and most recently around the trans-Neptunian object Quaoar (Morgado et al. 2023, Pereira et al. 2023). Such ring systems provide important clues to the dynamical and collisional history of the outer Solar System, as well as to the mechanisms of satellite formation, which is under debate following the discovery of Quaoar’s rings outside its Roche limit (Morgado et al. 2023, Pereira et al. 2023). Another important open question is to unravel how these dense rings are confined, and why they appear to be closer to the 3:1 spin-orbit resonance (Sicardy et al. 2019). With all this in mind, we predicted and observed a stellar occultation by the ringed centaur Chariklo from JWST on October 18, 2022. We will present and discuss the results of this occultation detected by NIRCam as part of Heidi Hammel’s GTO program ID 1271: TNOs: ‘Unveiling the Kuiper belt by stellar occultations’ (PI: Santos-Sanz). This is the first stellar occultation observed from JWST and is a successful proof of concept of the feasibility of JWST to characterize solar system objects using this very powerful and elegant technique. The challenging tasks performed to predict the stellar occultation visible from JWST and the instrumental setup used to observe this occultation will also be presented. Finally, we will discuss preliminary results from this successful stellar occultation, showing us in-depth details of Chariklo’s rings and other possible structures.

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