Astronomers Detect Strange Object At The Edge Of Our Solar System

Astronomers believe they have obtained proof of the existence of a theoretical cosmic object at the edge of the Solar System, in the Kuiper Belt.

For more than 70 years, researchers have predicted the existence of a particular object, located at the borders of the Solar System. This class of small cosmic bodies, with a radius of one to 10 kilometres, could constitute an important step in the formation of the planets, and contain the secrets of the origins of the Solar System.

First observation

For the first time, astronomers have measured the presence of such an object, reaching about 1.3 kilometres in radius. As this one is too small and too distant to be observed directly, the researchers used a well known phenomenon: occultation, the change of brightness caused by the passage of such an object in front of a star.

Thanks to a modest budget allowing the use of two small telescopes, the team had the opportunity to observe 2,000 stars for a total of 60 hours. Thus they were able to reveal the existence of this planetoid, located at about 32 astronomical units (AU) of the Sun, inside the orbit of Pluto.

Witnesses of Cosmic History

When a star is born, it is surrounded by a disc made of remnants of dust and gas around it. The electrostatic forces cause the particles to bind to each other in this protoplanetary disk. As agglomerates grow, the force of gravity grows with them, eventually forming planets. The Kuiper Belt is the testimony of such an event.

Protected from the Sun's radiation, these cosmic objects constitute, according to the researchers, time capsules, remains of the formation of the Solar System. This represents the step between the aggregation related to electrostatic forces and that due to gravitational forces. Now that a first observation has been made, more studies can be conducted to improve our knowledge of these distant worlds.

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Space: 6 mysterious objects that exist in the solar system Space: 6 mysterious objects that exist in the solar system