An Ancient, Lonely Asteroid Mysteriously Ended Up in the Outer Solar System

Lonely'exiled weirdo asteroid found on the edge of our solar system

An artist’s impression of the rogue rock that’s just been spotted in space

"The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects". However, the region between Mars and Jupiter did not have enough raw material to give birth to another planet and raw materials started orbiting in the region making a belt known as the asteroid belt. Theoretical models predict that violent gas giants from early Solar System ejected many small rocky bodies from inner solar system to far-flung orbits.

The lack of fellow asteroids from the inner solar system does not mean 2004 EW95 is alone - it simply exemplifies the difficulty in observing objects that are so far away, even with the very best technology available.

If these theories are correct, some of the asteroids that orbit around Kuiper Belt should be the same carbonaceous asteroids that are commonly found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Among this chaos, chunks of ice and rock such as 2004 EW95 were hurled away, which explains how it could have gotten there - and it also supports previous theoretical models of early planetary evolution.

Wesley Fraser, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, first noticed the asteroid during routine observations with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Such models suggest the Kuiper Belt should contain a small number of rocky bodies, perhaps also carbon-rich asteroids.

In the dark, frozen wasteland that lies just beyond Neptune, few things really stand out - and now, astronomers have found one of them: a carbon-rich asteroid, the first asteroid of its kind to be discovered at the outskirts of our solar system.

This suggests that it was originally formed in the inner Solar System and must have since migrated outwards.

"Given 2004 EW95's present-day abode in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System, this implies that it has been flung out into its present orbit by a migratory planet in the early days of the Solar System", added Seccull.

Researchers, headed by Tom Sequoul of Queens University, Belfast, who published the Astrophysical Journal Letters, estimate that because of the long distance from the Sun, the asteroid's temperature is minus 235 degrees Celsius.

The astronomers noted that two features of the object were particularly eye-catching and corresponded to the presence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates.

Further analysis of the asteroid revealed that it is a carbonaceous asteroid (C-type asteroid). The Kuiper Belt starts past the orbit of Neptune, roughly 30 astronomical units from sunlight, roughly 30 times the distance between sunlight and Earth, and might stretch nearly as far too interstellar space.

[3] Other inner Solar System objects have previously been detected in the outer reaches of the Solar System, but this is the first carbonaceous asteroid to be found far from home in the Kuiper Belt. The strong spectral lines radiating from this unusual asteroid caused it to stand out from its peers, which have relatively dim spectra.

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