The Kuiper Belt or the Edgeworth Kuiper Belt is home to ancient rocks. Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) are remnants of the early days of planetary evolution of our solar system. Small KBOs at 1 km. Diameter range has been theorized for decades, but no one has ever found one.
planets form when pieces of dust aggregate into rocks that fuse into boulders that aggregate into ever larger objects. In our inner solar system, we can see many of these larger rocks or asteroids. We can study them, but they are not the same as the distant, ancient KBOs. Asteroids in our neighborhood have been altered by solar radiation, collisions and by interaction with the gravitational forces of the planets.
But KBOs are rather pristine. They are a more accurate representation of the state in the early solar system. That is why so much interest is aroused by the affirmation of a human being's existence.
Scientists have predicted the existence of KBOs between 1 km and several km in diameter. But they are so far away, so tiny and so incredibly dark, that a telescope has no way to recognize one. However, a research team led by Ko Arimatsu at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan found a way to discover it: occultation.
The same way we can see exoplanets around distant stars by observing Arimatsu and his team at starlight For some reason, we can observe distant stars and search for wastes caused by a KBO in our solar system. To achieve this, they started the project OASES (Organized Auto-Telescopes for Serendipitous Event Survey).
"This is a real win for small projects."
Ko Arimatsu, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
They 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 a total of 60 hours.
Analyzing the 60-hour data, the team discovered that a star was dimming as it was obscured by a 1.3-kilometer Edgeworth Kuiper Belt object. Their work suggests that the kilometer-sized objects of the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt are more numerous than previously thought. It also supports planetary formation models in which planetesimals slowly grow into kilometer-sized objects before they merge into planets through uncontrollable growth.
In a press release, Arimatsu explains, "This is a real win for small projects. Our team had less than 0.3% of the budget of major international projects. We did not even have enough money to build a second dome to protect our second telescope! Nevertheless, we have managed to make a discovery that is impossible for the big projects. Knowing that our system works, we will examine the Edgeworth Kuiper Belt more closely. In addition, we are targeting the still undiscovered Oort Cloud.
Further discoveries will confirm the team's findings, and if so, it will close an observation gap in our understanding of planet formation. As the team says in their paper, "When it comes to true KBO detection, this means that planetesimals have grown into kilometer-sized objects in the outer outer solar system before their rapid growth phase and belts remain in the current Kuiper belt as the main population.