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Keyword: kuiperbelt

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  • You can help name the largest unnamed world in the solar system

    04/09/2019 11:16:13 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 82 replies
    www.newscientist.com ^ | 9 April 2019 | By Leah Crane
    A dwarf planet discovered over a decade ago is the largest body we know of in our solar system without a proper name – but that’s about to change. Meg Schwamb, an astronomer at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and her colleagues have opened a public vote to name the distant world, which is currently known only as 2007 OR10. They have selected three potential names that fit the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) rules on official names for minor planets, and will recommend the winner to the IAU, which will then select the formal name. So why now, instead of when...
  • Next Stop, Triton? Here's Two Wild Ideas to Explore Neptune's Weirdest Moon

    04/01/2019 4:20:11 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    space.com/ ^ | Meghan Bartels
    It's a large moon, the seventh largest in our solar system, and scientists think it was born in the Kuiper Belt before falling into its current location in orbit around the most distant planet. ...Procktor and her colleagues believe they can photograph the moon's entire surface in a single pass. ...On its way past Triton, the spacecraft's flight would be timed in order to see in sunlight the 60 percent or so of its surface that Voyager 2 couldn't see. After the initial approach, the spacecraft would turn its camera back to recapture the 40 percent of the surface Voyager...
  • Proof of 'Planet Nine' May Be Sewn into Medieval Tapestries

    02/28/2019 8:50:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    Live Science ^ | May 4, 2018 | Stephanie Pappas
    The records include dates and times, Cesario said, which makes them useful to modern-day astronomers. Planet Nine, if it exists, would have about 10 times the mass of Earth and orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune does... Scientists suspect the existence of Planet Nine because it would explain some of the gravitational forces at play in the Kuiper Belt, a stretch of icy bodies beyond Neptune. But no one has been able to detect the planet yet, though astronomers are scanning the skies for it with tools such as the Subaru Telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano....
  • New Horizons Will Spend New Years Exploring Ultima Thule, a Billion Miles Past Pluto

    12/19/2018 6:36:42 AM PST · by C19fan · 12 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | December 19, 2018 | David Grossman
    At the furthest reaches of the solar system, 2019 will start off with exploration. NASA has given the final green light to its New Horizons spacecraft for a January 1st flyby of Ultima Thule, an object in the Kuiper Belt around a billion miles beyond Pluto. It will be the most distant planetary flyby in human history. Before giving the okay, NASA wanted to make sure that it wasn't passing up any other opportunities for either study or disaster in the area—rings, small moons, and anything else that a probe like New Horizons might want to observe. Pushing through the...
  • 12 years after launch, New Horizons probe zeroes in on mysterious Ultima Thule

    12/02/2018 8:47:33 PM PST · by Simon Green · 21 replies
    Geek Wire ^ | 12/02/18 | Alan Boyle
    Act Two of the 12-year-old New Horizons mission to Pluto and the solar system’s icy Kuiper Belt is heating up, with less than a month to go before NASA’s piano-sized spacecraft makes history’s farthest-out close encounter with a celestial object. The New Year’s flyby of a mysterious Kuiper Belt object (or objects) known as Ultima Thule (UL-ti-ma THOO-lee) follows up on the mission’s first act, which hit a climax three years ago with a history-making flyby of Pluto. Launched in 2006, New Horizons was never meant to be a one-shot deal. Even before the Pluto flyby, mission managers used the...
  • New Horizons Spots Its Next Flyby Target: Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69

    09/01/2018 9:48:48 AM PDT · by ETL · 10 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Aug 31, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    MU69 is a relatively small Kuiper Belt object. It is estimated to have a diameter of 30 miles (48 km) — that’s more than 10 times larger and 1,000 times more massive than typical comets, but only about 0.5 to 1% of the size of the dwarf planet Pluto. This object was discovered in June 2014 by astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.Also known as PT1 and 1110113Y, and nicknamed Ultima Thule, MU69 orbits the Sun once every 293 years at a distance of more than 4 billion miles (6.5 billion km) from Earth.The MU69 flyby will be the...
  • Space Weird Orbits Suggest Solar System May Harbor Another Hidden Planet

    06/24/2017 8:01:31 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 44 replies
    Kathryn Volk and Renu Malhotra at the University of Arizona have noticed some strange movement out in the Kuiper belt…movement that they believe could suggest the existence of a tenth planet. ... Objects in the Kuiper belt are far enough away from the other major bodies in our solar system that the gravitational influence of the large planets doesn’t impact them (at least, not to a measurable degree); however, their movements can still be predicted, thanks to sky surveys and a host of advanced technologies. The search for Planet Nine has lead scientists to believe that it is orbiting around...
  • New clues in search for Planet Nine

    07/05/2016 6:11:20 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 30 replies
    Science News ^ | 5 Jul, 2016 | CHRISTOPHER CROCKETT
    More clues about where to search for a possible ninth planet lurking in the fringes of our solar system are emerging from the Kuiper belt, the icy debris field beyond Neptune. And new calculations suggest that the putative planet might be brighter — and a bit easier to find — than once thought. Evidence for the existence of Planet Nine is scant, based on apparent alignments among the orbits of the six most distant denizens of the Kuiper belt (SN: 2/20/16, p. 6). Their oval orbits all point in roughly the same direction and lie in about the same plane,...
  • Pluto spacecraft gets new mission

    07/03/2016 6:20:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    earthsky.org ^ | July 1, 2016 | Deborah Byrd
    In a late-day Friday announcement on July 1, 2016, NASA said that the first-ever spacecraft to visit the dwarf planet Pluto – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft – has received the nod to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. This object had not even been discovered when New Horizons was launched in 2006. The spacecraft will rendezvous with 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. ... In addition to the extension of the New Horizons mission, NASA determined that the Dawn spacecraft should remain at the dwarf planet Ceres, rather than changing course to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Pluto at Night

    06/09/2016 2:44:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The night side of Pluto spans this shadowy scene. The spacebased view with the Sun behind the distant world was captured by New Horizons last July. The spacecraft was at a range of over 21,000 kilometers, about 19 minutes after its closest approach. A denizen of the Kuiper Belt in dramatic silhouette, the image also reveals Pluto's tenuous, surprisingly complex layers of hazy atmosphere. The crescent twilight landscape near the top of the frame includes southern areas of nitrogen ice plains informally known as Sputnik Planum and rugged mountains of water-ice in the Norgay Montes.
  • Stolen World: 'Planet 9' Likely Came from Another Star

    06/02/2016 7:40:16 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | 1 Jun, 2016 | Mike Wall
    There may be an alien planet lurking within Earth's own solar system. If the hypothetical Planet Nine does indeed exist, the sun probably ripped the world away from another star long ago, a new study suggests. "It is almost ironic that while astronomers often find exoplanets hundreds of light-years away in other solar systems, there's probably one hiding in our own backyard," study lead author Alexander Mustill, an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden, said in a statement. [The Evidence for Planet Nine in Pictures]. Earlier this year, astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, both of the California Institute of...
  • New Horizons sets sights on its next target, a mysterious object at solar system's edge

    05/06/2016 6:37:23 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Known as 2014 MU69, the object is thought to be unchanged since the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.... ... Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel submitted plans last month to NASA to fly past the relatively tiny chunk of icy matter on New Year's Day 2019. If NASA approves it, the extended New Horizon mission could give a close-up view of what has so far only appeared to scientists as a faint dot of light. ... The object is in a 300-year orbit around the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moon over Makemake

    04/30/2016 2:03:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, April 30, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Makemake, second brightest dwarf planet of the Kuiper belt, has a moon. Nicknamed MK2, Makemake's moon reflects sunlight with a charcoal-dark surface, about 1,300 times fainter than its parent body. Still, it was spotted in Hubble Space Telescope observations intended to search for faint companions with the same technique used to find the small satellites of Pluto. Just as for Pluto and its satellites, further observations of Makemake and orbiting moon will measure the system's mass and density and allow a broader understanding of the distant worlds. About 160 kilometers (100 miles) across compared to Makemake's 1,400 kilometer diameter,...
  • Researchers find evidence of a real ninth planet

    01/20/2016 7:52:49 PM PST · by Utilizer · 31 replies
    Phys.org ^ | January 20, 2016 | Kimm Fesenmaier
    Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling...
  • New Horizons aiming toward next target [Kuiper Belt 2014 MU69]

    10/25/2015 6:30:08 PM PDT · by markomalley · 4 replies
    Earthsky ^ | 10/25/15
    The fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft is now approximately 74 million miles (119 million km) beyond the Pluto system, which it swept through in July. Today (October 25, 2015), the spacecraft is carrying out the second in a series of four initial targeting maneuvers ultimately designed to send it toward its next target – a small body in the Kuiper Belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto – called 2014 MU69. NASA said: The four planned maneuvers will change New Horizons’ trajectory by approximately 57 meters per second, nudging it toward a prospective close encounter with MU69 on January 1, 2019....
  • Is there a Planet X, a ‘massive perturber,’ hidden beyond Pluto?

    09/05/2015 7:46:28 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 32 replies
    Washington Post ^ | September 3 | Joel Achenbach
    The paper ... noted that a number of large, very remote objects share a similar orbital angle. That's suspicious if you're an astronomer expecting to see a random distribution of objects. The key orbital feature is known, rather obtusely, as the “argument of perihelion.” We're not shy of complicated orbital concepts (we try to toss around the phrase "obliquity of the ecliptic" whenever possible), but this one is not very easy to explain. "The argument of perihelion is the angle at which an object comes to perihelion with respect to the ecliptic plane," Sheppard said in an e-mail. Mike Brown,...
  • What is the Oort Cloud?

    08/10/2015 4:36:14 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    Universe Today ^ | Matt Williams
    The Oort Cloud is a theoretical spherical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals that is believed to surround the Sun at a distance of up to around 100,000 AU (2 ly). This places it in interstellar space, beyond the Sun’s Heliosphere where it defines the cosmological boundary between the Solar System and the region of the Sun’s gravitational dominance. Like the Kuiper Belt and the Scattered Disc, the Oort Cloud is a reservoirs of trans-Neptunian objects, though it is over a thousands times more distant from our Sun as these other two. The idea of a cloud of icy infinitesimals was...
  • We're Pumped Up About Visiting Pluto After Seeing This NASA Video

    06/13/2015 7:28:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Popular Science TV ^ | June 12th, 2015 | Sarah Fecht
    In July, New Horizons crosses the next great frontier in our solar system. Mankind is about to visit one of the strangest places in our solar system. Out beyond Neptune, the Kuiper belt is home to hordes of cold, lumpy worlds -- some of which are large enough to have their own moons, but none of which we've seen up-close before. That's going to change this summer, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by "the king of the Kuiper belt": Pluto. It's no longer considered a planet, but Pluto is still an important member of our solar system, and one...
  • Rosetta Instrument Reignites Debate on Earth's Oceans

    12/11/2014 2:15:28 AM PST · by iowamark · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | 12/10/14
    The question about the origin of oceans on Earth is one of the most important questions with respect to the formation of our planet and the origin of life. The most popular theory is that water was brought by impacts of comets and asteroids. Data from the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The findings were published today in the journal Science. Researchers agree that water must have been delivered to Earth by small bodies at a later...
  • Newfound pink world lurks at solar system fringes

    03/26/2014 12:06:45 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 45 replies
    www.utsandiego.com ^ | 03-26-2014 | By ALICIA CHANG
    <p>LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7½ billion miles from the sun.</p> <p>It's the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.</p>