A new class of objects discovered in the solar system, which confirms the long-held theory

While some scientists are trying to find somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune, the mysterious "ninth planet", others open a new compact class of trans-Neptunian objects. A team of specialists from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan announced the opening in the Kuiper belt of small, only a few kilometers in diameter, the objects whose existence science up to this point as soon as the suspect. About the results of the Japanese astronomers wrote Nature Astronomy magazine.

A new class of objects discovered in the solar system, which confirms the long-held theory

The discovery of the object may indicate the presence of a new class of bodies orbiting in the Kuiper Belt. This region, starting beyond Neptune (30 AU) in which there are small ice bodies remaining after the formation of the solar system extends over hundreds AU. Given the size and low brightness objects discussed, they are impossible to detect by conventional methods, for example, by detecting the reflected light from them.

Scientists decided to turn to more exotic method of search - transit. He is, as we are usually used in the search for new exoplanets and is monitoring the changing brightness of stars, which may hint at the existence of a certain object in the system of planetary forms.

By finding the researchers started with a selection of about two thousand stars, for whom for more than 60 hours of continuous monitoring was carried out with the help of two small 28-centimeter telescope installed on the roof of one of the schools in Okinawa Prefecture. By monitoring the so-called light curves of these stars, astronomers have tried not to miss the moment when the light of some of them briefly eclipsed something got in the way. Expectations observers fully justified - they found planetesimals size of about 1, 3 kilometers. The property is situated about 32 astronomical units from Earth. In other words, the body is rotated around the sun near Pluto, whose orbit lies approximately 29-49 AU. This is the first detected object of this class. Previously they existed only in theoretical models.

"This is a real victory for small projects. Budget our team is less than 0, 3% of the budget of large international projects. We do not even have money to build a dome for our second telescope! However, we were able to make a discovery of reach of major projects ", - says co-discoverer, astronomer Co. Arimatsu.

Among astronomers, there is an idea that objects like open Japanese scientists, a few billion years ago took part in the formation of planets in the solar system. After the birth of the Sun system was disk of gas and dust, which under the influence of electrostatic forces began to form dense clumps of matter, which gradually grew, eventually becoming a planet. These discs exist in many other star systems, which are conducted for astronomical observations. The Kuiper Belt is located in our system, in turn, is just one of these discs. It contains a plurality of stony and ice bodies, remaining even after the completion of formation of the solar system.

Detection and investigation of the most compact, measuring up to 10 kilometers, the celestial bodies, which scientists call planetesimals can tell us about how going on the initial association of particles of matter from which the planets were born afterwards. Opening of the first such planetezemali can say that in the Kuiper Belt may contain much more similar objects. Moreover, their discovery suggests our existing models of planets in general are correct. Discuss the possible opening of our Telegram-chat.