Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Lonely 'exiled weirdo asteroid' found on the edge of our solar system

Lonely 'exiled weirdo asteroid' found on the edge of our solar system

Since Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95 has a strong spectrum, its light can be broken down into different wavelengths, enabling researchers to determine what the asteroid is made of.

The researcher's community believed that the asteroid was formed in the asteroid belt.

This rocky witness of our solar system's primordial days offers unique evidence of that distant period.

The answer to the question also goes back to the origins of our solar system. Their analysis showed that this object did not share the same frigid past as the ice balls drifting nearby.

An asteroid ejected from our infant Solar System found refuge billions of kilometres away, beyond the orbit of Neptune, where it has now been spotted, astronomers said on Wednesday.

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That's because the space anomaly, "2004 EW95", is rich with carbon, a first for any object so distant, researchers report in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The peculiar nature of 2004 EW95 first came to light during routine observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope by Wesley Fraser, an astronomer from Queen's University Belfast who was also a member of the team behind this discovery.

One of the most widely accepted models of the Solar System's early evolution is the Nice model - named after Nice in France where the model was developed.

But that was after it was formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said.

As asteroids usually contain material available in the region of their formation, the theory, popularly dubbed as the Grand Tack Hypothesis, meant some of the asteroids present in the colder regions beyond Neptune should be rich in carbon, iron, and silicon, just like rocky bodies formed closer to the sun. After painstaking measurements from multiple instruments at ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), a small team of astronomers led by Tom Seccull of Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom was able to measure the composition of the anomalous Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95, and thus determine that it is a carbonaceous asteroid.

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Tom Seccull, from Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues found that an unusual object at the Kuiper Belt, a region at the edge of the Solar System and beyond the orbit of planet Neptune, is a carbon-rich asteroid.

The early solar system was far more chaotic than it is today.

In part this is due to the difficulties to detect dark bodies at great distances, but this stumbling block was found thanks to "careful measurements with multiple instruments installed on the ESO's VLT telescope".

Olivier Hainaut concludes, "The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System."Olivier Hainaut is an ESO astronomer". It is the first time that such an asteroid carbonate, a remnant of the primitive solar system, is discovered in that frozen area.

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