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New Worlds Discovered Beyond Neptune

Jul 25, 2016 12:31 AM EDT
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Planet Neptune
Two unusual rocks were discovered in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune; the rocks' orbit is in unison with Neptune despite their great distance.
(Photo : Hulton Archive/Getty Images))

Scientists discovered two new worlds within the cold and dark space beyond Neptune.

The "new worlds" were discovered within the Kuiper Belt, a dark and cold region beyond Neptune. Kuiper belt is filled with rocky and icy debris where the new worlds were discovered. The newly discovered "worlds" known as 2014 FZ71 and 2015 FJ345 are potato-shaped rocks that are unusual compared to the rest of the debris found in the region because according to reports, their orbits are in sync with that of Neptune's despite their great distance from the planet.

Pluto is also found beyond Neptune where the Kuiper Belt is located. Debris found on the Kuiper belt are called Kuiper Belt Objects or (KBO). Earlier this month, it is reported that the New Horizons spacecraft that previously conducted flyby to Pluto was granted a mission extension to study other KBOs.

"We're excited to continue onward into the dark depths of the outer solar system to a science target that wasn't even discovered when the spacecraft launched," Jim Green, NASA's director of Planetary Science said in a statement. Although the spacecraft will conduct a flyby in another KBO, the discovery of two new unusual rocks proves that there are more interesting objects waiting to be discovered and analyzed within the Kuiper Belt.

If proven that the two icy rocks indeed moved in unison with Neptune, it will provide a new understanding of how the universe formed. Because their similar orbit may mean that bodies are interconnected in the past and are connected until now. Today, scientists discovered that the two rocks and Neptune are locked in a "cosmic" dance, according to Daily Mail. '

The orbits of the rocks are between 40 astronomical units (AU) and 100 AU and are four to nine billion miles away from the Solar System's Sun. Scientists found it bewildering that the rocks are in resonance with Neptune's orbit.

The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Telescope in Chile base aid in the discovery of the unusual rocks. The discovery was recently published in the July 2016 edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

 

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