Together with Sedna, a similar extreme object discovered a decade ago, the find is reshaping ideas about how the Solar System came to be. “It goes to show that there’s something we don’t know about our Solar System, and it’s something important,” says co-discoverer Chad Trujillo, an astronomer at Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii. “We’re starting to get a taste of what’s out beyond what we consider the edge.”
Trujillo and Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, report the finding today in Nature.
“This is a great discovery,” says Michael Brown, a planetary astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “We’ve been searching for more objects like Sedna for more than 10 years now.” Finding another one like it reduces the chances that Sedna is a fluke, he says. But astronomers now have to come up with ideas to explain how these objects remain tightly gravitationally bound to the Sun when they orbit so far away.
Read more: http://ow.ly/v5ayU
Image credit: Scott S. Sheppard/Carnegie Institution for Science
Join #NASA as we follow the journey of Comet ISON as it slingshots around the sun.
Will the awesome gravity and energy of the sun break up this cosmic ball of ice and rock? Will it break up? Or will it pass the sun intact to put on a dazzling show in the December sky?
Watch as NASA solar physicists track the comet LIVE from the mission control for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory,@NASA_SDO, during #ISON’s closest approach to the sun.
We'll also be joined by comet scientists joining from Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, where the solar telescope will be observing ISON and by science writer Phil Plait.
NASA scientists will answer your questions LIVE on air here on Google+, in the YouTube comments section during the live broadcast, or via Twitter using #ISON and #askNASA.
The participants in this Hangout include:
• C. Alex Young, Solar Physicist, Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Science Division and co-founder of The Sun Today - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.,
• W. Dean Pesnell, Solar Physicist and Project Scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.,
• Karl Battams, Comet Scientist for the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, and solar spacecraft lead for NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign, joining from Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, where the solar telescope will be observing ISON.
• Phil Plait, writes Slate's 'Bad Astronomy' blog and is an astronomer, science evangelizer, and author of the books "Bad Astronomy" and "Death from the Skies!"
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