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Author Topic: Quest for Planet Nine turns up 'extreme objects' on edge of solar system  (Read 3542 times)


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Quest for Planet Nine turns up 'extreme objects' on edge of solar system

by Ashley Strickland CNN Sept 01, 2016

(CNN)Even with an entire universe to explore, our own solar system is still full of mysteries. Welcome the newest members of our space family, found only recently in the "no man's land" beyond Neptune.

Although they aren't planets, these "extreme objects" hovering on the edge of the solar system just may provide further evidence for one that's rumored to be in our own backyard: Planet Nine.

For those of you who still feel like Pluto is the ninth planet and was unjustly demoted, hang in there. We'll get to that in a bit.

The newly discovered objects are most likely made of methane ice and water ice, mixed with some rock, and average 200 to 400 kilometers in diameter. Other than that, the objects are so faint that, from Earth, they only appear as points of light. But the technology used to find them, like telescopes and cameras, has come a long way since such surveys began in 2007.
"It was like looking through a straw at the sky for very rare objects," said Scott Sheppard, extreme object researcher and astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science. But that all changed in 2012. "We went from being able to cover something like a full moon to something that could cover 10 or 12 full moons in a single image. That's why the floodgates have opened for finding these very distant, rare, faint objects."

The extreme objects were only recently observed using two telescopes in Chile and Hawaii, and the researchers have just submitted them to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center for official designations.
Until then, they're stuck with names like 2014 SR349, 2014 FE72 and 2013 FT28, signifying the year they were first observed and a combination of letters and numbers suggesting the time of year. Yeah, those definitely won't be hard to remember in science class.

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« Last Edit: September 03, 2016, 12:36:16 AM by Yowbarb »


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