Japanese astronomers presume that there are dozens of tiny rocks at the distant edge of the Solar System, which are still unknown to us. Since these space objects are only between 1 and 10 kilometers in diameter, it is challenging for us to detect them with the current technology. Luckily, scientists spotted one mysterious space object at the far end of the Solar System, at about 32 astronomical units from us.
The detection of such a distant space rock is of great significance for astronomy and astrophysics since it might shed more light on the planetary formation process which gave birth to planets billions of years ago.
The new mysterious object that the astronomers detected is only 1.3-km wide and orbits the Sun in the vicinity of Pluto. This finding might prove, once and for all, the theories that hypothesize that there are “kilometer-sized” objects in the Kuiper Belt. The newly discovered space rock is a planetesimal, and orbits around the Sun at a distance of 32 AU.
Scientists Spotted A Mysterious Space Object At The Edge Of The Solar System
“This is a real victory for little projects. Our team had less than 0.3 percent of the budget of large international projects. We didn’t even have enough money to build a second dome to protect our second telescope! Yet we still managed to make a discovery that is impossible for the big projects,” Ko Arimatsu from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
Since we don’t know precisely how the planetary formation process works, the discovery of such a distant and mysterious space object, which is protected from the solar radiation, is essential for astronomers to learn more about how planets form. According to the scientists, distant rocks in the Kuiper Belt still contain information about how our Solar System was billions of years ago when the Earth and the rest of the planets formed.
“Now that we know our system works, we will investigate the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt in more detail. We also have our sights set on the still undiscovered Oort Cloud out beyond that,” concluded Arimatsu.
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