A team of astronomers has discovered activity of a rare type of space object that is rocky like an asteroid, but is also submerged in dust and gas like comets, and these unusual celestial bodies are known as CentaursLike a half-human, half-horse creature from Greek mythology, they are actually small planets that arose in the Kuiper Ice Belt, at the edge of our solar system..
In fact, although astronomers relentlessly surveyed the sky, 18 were discovered Centaurs It has only been active since 1927. It is also extremely difficult to monitor because it is so faint, distant and moving in unusual ways.
According to RT, a team of scientists from Northern Arizona University has developed a new monitoring technology Centaurs, Called 2014 OG392And they made an important discovery.
The team created an algorithm to scan traces of activity in images from space. This enabled them to monitor 2014 OG392 It turns solids into gases – in a process known as sublimation – leaving behind a long comet-like aura..
The next step in the process involved the use of computer modeling to figure out which types of ice could be burned from the rocks to form a halo. The investigation identified carbon dioxide and ammonia as the most likely candidates.
Lead researcher Colin Chandler said: “I am very excited that the Small Planet Center has given a new designation commensurate with the activity that we have discovered on this unusual object.“.
Celestial bodies like these are believed to date back to the dawn of the solar system, and are believed to have barely changed billions of years ago. Experts hope their study will help shed light on how planets formed and evolved, including Earth.
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