New Worlds Discovered Beyond Neptune

(26 July 2016)

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.

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.  See more on Nature World News


The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is a complex of astronomical telescopes and instruments located at 30.169 S, 70.804 W, approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.  CTIO headquarters are located in La Serena, Chile, about 300 miles north of Santiago.

The CTIO complex is part of the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), along with the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in Tucson, Arizona.  NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).  CTIO, as part of the AURA Observatory in Chile, operates in Chile under Chilean law, through an Agreement with the University of Chile and with the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile.

The principal telescopes on site are the 4-m Victor M. Blanco Telescope and the 4.1-m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope.  One of the two 8-m telescopes comprising the Gemini Observatory is co-located with CTIO on AURA property in Chile, together with more than 10 other telescopes and astronomical projects.