Exiled Asteroid discovered in the Outer reaches of the Solar System

Exiled Asteroid discovered in the Outer reaches of the Solar System

An asteroid is found in the outskirts of our solar system that is believed to be formed billions of years ago.

Our solar system was much different in its early days. An international team of scientists investigated the solar system of that time by making use of ESO telescopes and different theoretical models. They concluded that the formation of planets produced several small asteroids which were thrown to far-flung regions.

They found that Kuiper Belt, an extremely cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune, homes some of these small rocky bodies that were ejected from the inner parts of the solar system. Researchers are claiming for a long time that Carbonaceous Asteroids, which are also known as carbon-rich asteroids, are very common there but they had no scientific proof to support their claim.

However, scientists seem to have found a fragment from the early days of our solar system in the Kuiper Belt.

The latest study shows evidence that a reliable carbonaceous asteroid was found in the outer parts of the solar system. Tom Seccull, a representative of Queen’s University in the UK, led a team of astronomers which carried out this research.

They used several instruments for taking measurements of the composition of the anomalous object, 2004 EW 95, of the Kuiper Belt at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of ESO. All the data they collected helped them to determine that it is a carbonaceous asteroid. The amount of carbon indicates that it was formed much closer to the sun than its current position. Scientists believe that it covered a lot of distance in order to reach its present location.

Astronomers used FORS2 and X-Shooter instruments of VLT to observe this asteroid. As these spectrographs are highly sensitive, in-depth analysis of the patterns of reflected light was done to infer the composition of this piece of rock. Despite incredible light-collecting abilities of VLT, the researchers faced quite a lot of troubles as 2004 EW 95 is a difficult heavenly body to observe.

Although it is 300 kilometers wide, the facts that it has a dark carbon-rich surface and it is at a distance of 4 billion kilometers from the Earth make it a difficult object to examine. Thomas Puzia, a co-author of the study, acknowledged that by saying,

It’s like observing a giant mountain of coal against the pitch-black canvas of the night sky.

Similarly, Seccull mentioned about the challenges they faced during their experiment. He told the world that 2004 EW95 is a faint object that is moving and extremely advanced methods were adopted to gather the data.

Dr. Wesley Fraser of the Queen’s University in Belfast, who is also a member of the research team, encountered some unusual observations as he was monitoring far-off asteroids by using Hubble Space Telescope of NASA. The reflectance spectrum, a specific pattern of wavelengths of light that are reflected from an object, of 2004 EW95 showed some variations from the general behavior of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO). They have featureless spectra which hardly reveal anything about the composition of that particular object. Seccull verified that in the following words:

The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects. It looked enough of a weirdo for us to take a closer look.”

Another thing that confirmed these claims was the presence of minerals like Phyllosilicates and Ferric Oxides. This happens only when a heavenly body is formed closer to the Sun. Due to the presence of these minerals, the spectrum of 2004 EW95 is a sight worth watching.

Despite all the advancement of technology, scientists are unable to provide a logical explanation for the formation of planets. However, they have produced certain theoretical models which describe that phase of time. According to these models, Saturn and Jupiter were formed much closer to the Sun but they traveled through the solar system which led to a chaos. The views of Seccull summed up the debate as he said.

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