Aside from its 2 moons, dwarf planet Haumea has a ring: study

This handout photo released by Nature shows an artistic view of Haumea and its ring system with correct proportions for the main body and the ring. Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned. (AFP / NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP / Handout)
Updated 11 October 2017
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Aside from its 2 moons, dwarf planet Haumea has a ring: study

PARIS: Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned.
The planet, dubbed Haumea, orbits the Sun far beyond Neptune — the eighth and furthest recognized “full” planet in our star system since Pluto was downgraded to dwarf status in 2006.
About eight billion kilometers (five billion miles) from the Sun, Haumea spins rapidly on its own axis, and has a flattened, cigar-like shape.
It takes 285 years to circle the Sun.
Named after the Hawaiian deity of childbirth, it is among a handful of known dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune, which with the other so-called giant planets — Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter — all have rings.
“Our discovery proves that there is a lot more diversity and imagination in our solar system than we had thought,” study co-author Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory told AFP.
The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
A ring system had previously been discovered around a centaur dubbed Chariklo. Centaurs, which have unstable orbits, are considered large comets, not planets, which means this is the first observation of a ring around a dwarf planet.
The new discovery came when Sicardy and a team predicted that Haumea would cross in front of a specific star, from Earth’s perspective, on January 21 this year.
They trained 12 telescopes at 10 different laboratories on the spot, and were able to measure many of the physical characteristics of the little-known planet discovered in 2004.
Scientists can infer much about a planet’s density and size by how much light it blocks out as it moves in front of a star.
In Haumea’s case, they found it sported a dense, Saturn-like ring some 70 kilometers wide, made of frozen particles.
The planet has two moons.


Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

In this June 22, 2012 file photo, a smoker extinguishes a cigarette in an ash tray in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 18 August 2018
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Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

  • Quitters saw their risk of diabetes increase by 22 percent in the six years after they kicked the habit
  • The people enrolled in the studies were all health professionals, and did not mirror current smokers in the general population, who are disproportionately low-income, less-educated and more likely to smoke heavily

NEW YORK: If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may seem like you’re trading one set of health problems for another. But a new US study finds you’re still better off in the long run.
Compared with smokers, even the quitters who gained the most weight had at least a 50 percent lower risk of dying prematurely from heart disease and other causes, the Harvard-led study found.
The study is impressive in its size and scope and should put to rest any myth that there are prohibitive weight-related health consequences to quitting cigarettes, said Dr. William Dietz, a public health expert at George Washington University.
“The paper makes pretty clear that your health improves, even if you gain weight,” said Dietz, who was not involved in the research. “I don’t think we knew that with the assurance that this paper provides.”
The New England Journal of Medicine published the study Wednesday. The journal also published a Swedish study that found quitting smoking seems to be the best thing diabetics can do to cut their risk of dying prematurely.
The nicotine in cigarettes can suppress appetite and boost metabolism. Many smokers who quit and don’t step up their exercise find they eat more and gain weight — typically less than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), but in some cases three times that much.
A lot of weight gain is a cause of the most common form of diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Diabetes can lead to problems including blindness, nerve damage, heart and kidney disease and poor blood flow to the legs and feet.
In the US study, researchers tracked more than 170,000 men and women over roughly 20 years, looking at what they said in health questionnaires given every two years.
The people enrolled in the studies were all health professionals, and did not mirror current smokers in the general population, who are disproportionately low-income, less-educated and more likely to smoke heavily.
The researchers checked which study participants quit smoking and followed whether they gained weight and developed diabetes, heart disease or other conditions.
Quitters saw their risk of diabetes increase by 22 percent in the six years after they kicked the habit. An editorial in the journal characterized it as “a mild elevation” in the diabetes risk.
Studies previously showed that people who quit have an elevated risk of developing diabetes, said Dr. Qi Sun, one the study’s authors. He is a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
But that risk doesn’t endure, and it never leads to a higher premature death rate than what smokers face, he said.
“Regardless of the amount of weight gain, quitters always have a lower risk of dying” prematurely, Sun said.