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Scientists Find First Asteroid with Rings

Astronomers have found that Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus are not the only bodies in the solar system with rings.

A team of South American scientists has discovered an asteroid about 2 billion kilometers from Earth, circled by two rings believed to be made of ice.

Writing in the journal Nature, the team calls the asteroid Chariklo. The scientists first spotted it last June when it blocked the light of a star as it flew in front of of it.

They categorize the body as a Centaur -- a space object with an unsteady orbit that resembles both comets and asteroids.

The team say it is a mystery what formed the rings, but suspect it may be the result of a collision.

Brazilian astronomer Felipe Braga Ribas calls the discovery of the rings a complete surprise.

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People watch the 14th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, New York, Feb. 17, 2013.

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