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Home / Science / Missing link found in planetary evolution – ScienceDaily

Missing link found in planetary evolution – ScienceDaily



For the first time astronomers have discovered a body of 1.3 km radius at the edge of the solar system. It was predicted that body-sized bodies, such as the one discovered, existed for over 70 years. These objects represented an important step in the planet formation process between small initial merges of dust and ice and the planets we see today.

The Edgeworth Kuiper Belt is a collection of small celestial bodies located outside the orbit of Neptune. The most famous Edgeworth Kuiper belt object is Pluto. It is believed that Edgeworth-Kuiper belts are remnants left over from the formation of the solar system. While small bodies such as asteroids in the inner solar system have been altered by solar radiation, collisions and the gravitational force of the planets over time; Objects in the cold, dark, lonely Edgeworth Kuiper belt preserve the original conditions of the early solar system. Astronomers study them to explore the beginning of the planet formation process.

Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt Objects with radii from 1

kilometer to several kilometers have been predicted for the world, but they are too far away, too small and too weak for the whole world Telescopes like the Subaru telescope can be observed directly become. A research team led by Ko Arimatsu at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan therefore used a technique called occultation: monitoring a large number of stars and observing the shadow of an object passing in front of one of the stars. The Organized Autotelescopes for Serendipitous Event Survey (OASES) team placed two small (28 cm) telescopes on the roof of the Miyako Open Air School on Miyako Island, Miyakojima-shi, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and observed a total of about 2,000 stars out of 60 hours.

Analyzing the data, the team found an event that matched a star that appeared to darken when it was obscured by a 1.3-kilometer Edgeworth Kuiper Belt object. This detection suggests that kilometer-sized Edgeworth Kuiper Belt objects are more numerous than previously thought. This supports models in which planetesimals slowly grow into kilometer-sized objects before they merge into planets through unchecked growth.

Arimatsu explains: "This is a real win for small projects." Our team had less than 0.3% of the budget of Large International Projects: We did not even have enough money to build a second dome to our second telescope Nevertheless, we managed to make a discovery that is impossible for the big projects, now that we know our system is working, we will examine the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt in detail, we also have the yet undiscovered Oort Cloud. "

This research was made possible by the support of the Miyako Open-Air School and the local community in Miyakojima. shi.

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Materials provided by National Institutes of Natural Sciences . Note: Content can be edited by style and length.


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