Astronomers Discover Kilometer-Sized Object in Kuiper Belt | Astronomy

James Marshall
February 1, 2019

For the first time, astronomers have been able to detect a 13km radius body at the edge of the solar system.

The KBO is apparently just one of many in the Kuiper Belt, which has always been known to hold remnants of the solar system's formation. We now know of more than a thousand objects there, and it's estimated it's home to more than 100,000 asteroids and comets there over 62 miles (100 km) across. This more active region has been disturbed by collisions and solar radiation.

Since the Kuiper Belt has an incredibly low temperature and a relatively safe position (being located close to the orbit of Neptune) a large number of the Kuiper Belt Objects are in pristine condition. Kilometer size bodies such as this have been predicted to exist for over seven decades, but this is the first time one has been discovered.

The study's lead author Ko Arimatsu revealed that their team did not have a big budget so they looked for occultations, or in this case, events that cause a dimness in the sky that could indicate KBOs are passing in front of stars.

A team at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has discovered a new class of object that has always been thought to exist in the Kuiper belt on the fringes of the solar system.

"KBOs with radii from one to several kilometers are too distant, small, and dim for even world-leading telescopes to observe directly", said Dr.

Amazingly, the OASES (Organized Autotelescopes for Serendipitous Event Survey) team made the find using a pair of small 28cm (11-inch) "low cost" telescopes plus some off-the-shelf CMOS cameras.

The team says that this discovery supports the theory where planetesimals grow slowly into kilometer-sized objects before growing into planets.

In a press release, Arimatsu explains: "This is a real victory for little projects".

'Our team had less than 0.3% of the budget of large global 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", said Arimatsu.

The Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt, commonly known as the Kuiper Belt, is a large area that is filled with thousands of ancient objects that date back to the early days of our universe. We also have our sights set on the still undiscovered Oort Cloud out beyond that'.

The far outer solar system is teeming with mountain-size space rocks left over from the planet-formation period, a new study suggests.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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