Astronomers spot 139 new ‘minor planets’ in our own solar system

Astronomers spot 139 new ‘minor planets’ in our own solar system

by Mike Wehner, BGR

A massive treasure trove of newly-discovered solar system objects was just revealed by astronomers in a new research paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. The team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania made their discoveries using observations from the Dark Energy Survey, or DES, a six-year project that led to the detection of over 300 objects lurking beyond Neptune.

Of those hundreds of detected objects, 139 of them are new to science. The data that the team had to comb through included millions of possible objects that were detected during the survey. By cross-referencing scans and cataloging the objects that wee consistently observable, the team was able to determine which parts of the data revealed actual trans-Neptunian objects, or TNOs.

Once the team narrowed down the list, they began the process of confirming that the objects they thought they spotted were actually there. That’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re peering so far out in the solar system. It’s dark out there, making observations using traditional telescopes difficult.

Read the full article here…

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